Archive | January, 2013

Eau de Vagabond

26 Jan

I bought a used book at a giant bookstore, read a magazine about knitting, had a fascinating conversation with a very loud bag lady at the bus-stop, sipped on a soy chai latte made by a former mechanic wearing a bow-tie and black-rimmed glasses, and ate lunch at an international food truck.  Where am I?
You guessed it- Portland.

I took the train down yesterday.  My boyfriend was doing a shoot for Nike again this week, and I like to have mini adventures.  And I like my boyfriend.

They just found out that they're BOTH my boyfriend!!!

They just found out that they’re BOTH my boyfriend!!!

The hotel we stayed at had wine hour in the evening, hot chocolate in the morning (a fact I have not verified personally, as morning for me begins at noon), zebra striped bathrobes, organic body wash, and two different recycling bins in the room.  Recycling is very chic here in City of Roses.

I almost didn’t make it though.  I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday morning, and was given some very foul tea to make into a tonic for my asthma.  It was the kind of tea that Portlanders might drink.  I boiled it for twenty minutes, as instructed, when I really only had ten, and the bus was going to leave in half an hour and the stop was at the top of the hill and two blocks over.  Gah!  I ran frantically from room to room, organizing things, sweeping floors, covering up my mess.  My boyfriend’s friend came over to check out his newly finished basement.  I opened the door for him, and proceeded to run around like a madwoman.  My hair was still in curlers (actually it was wrapped up in a headband in my curling method, but I just can’t describe that very well).

Almost as creative as the beer can bong.

Almost as creative as the beer can bong.

After having a chat with him in every single room of the house, he offered me a ride to the train station.  Lucky me, I never get rides to the train station.  Whew.  I had just enough time to bottle my foul tea and put on some coconut oil to hide the odor that had seeped into my pores.

On the train, I was still paranoid that I smelled of foul tea vapors. My boyfriend is practically allergic to tea so I had to cover it up, but I didn’t have any perfume.  Good thing I’ve been a vagabond before.  The things I came up with while down and out come in handy all the time.  I bought an orange from the food car, ate all of the slices, chewed off the white bits (it’s a great source of vitamin C and I was going to Portland so I needed to practice not being wasteful) and twisted the peels, rubbing the oil onto my wrists and neck, hands, and décolletage.  I was sufficiently orange-d and successfully de-odored.  Voilà.  It really does the trick.  I’ve used peels from lemons and grapefruit as well.  This all might have looked very strange were I not on train to Portland.  You have seen Portlandia, haven’t you?  portland-weird-nude-cyclist

I’ve done this many times in situations of few resources.  My friend and I found ourselves in the north of France one morning (the world is a magical place when you’re a 20 year old maniac).  After spending the night in an English gentleman’s tiny car

Oy, let's not tell Gran about this k?

Oy, let’s not tell Gran about this k?

in a ditch near a farmer’s field (and having to ask for help from the farmer to fix the car),  we decided to have a little bath at the beach.  Not smart, of course.  Not smart at all, but what is to be expected of 20 year old maniacs?  Sandy, sticky, sleepy, and smelly, we drove around until we found a campsite.  After sneaking in, we came across a heavenly lavender bush  and liberated a couple bouquets. We stole a hot shower and sponged with a wet wipe and rubbed ourselves with our freshly picked lavender.  I’m sure the French, unlike the Portlanders, would have been horrified had they caught us.

We don't make our own perfume, you little heathens.

We don’t make our own perfume, you little heathens.

Huge faux pas. The ride to Paris that afternoon was very calm, and well-scented.  Eau du provence e plague.  We steered clear of tea, tonics, chai lattes, and went straight for the wine and cheese.  We had insatiable cravings for champagne, remedied only by bottle after bottle of warm bubbly underneath the Eiffel Tower.  When in Paris…

Anyhow, after all that drama with the tonic and racing around like a madwoman and having to hitch a ride to the train station, and the orange peels and flashback of French adventures,` I didn’t even end up drinking the tonic. My boyfriend left early in the morning and packed up the toothpaste with him, the key to the minibar disappeared, and I didn’t want to catch my death from taste bud poisoning.  So I poured out the tonic, rinsed out the glass jars and put them in the very posh recycling bin (for glass only- newspapers are segregated) and checked out of the hotel with an insatiable craving for Kombucha.  Portland does that to you.  It really does.

Krabi 69

19 Jan

My favorite 69…

The Krabi 69 is about as about as sweet, nasty, and gushy as you can get.  And it happened in a jail cell in Thailand, which makes it even sweeter.  Krabi later became synonymous with crappy, lame, disappointing, banana hammock, overpriced, or vanilla if you’re of the Kristin Cavallari persuasion, which I am definitely not because vanilla is delicious and Brody Jenner is not.  The Krabi 69, however, is a parallel for sweet, nasty, gushy, romantic, kindred, and memorable. The Krabi 69 takes place on a last minute holiday from Thai School/vacation.  Destination Krabi, in southern Thailand, beaches and beauty galore.


The journey:  was the mother of mood killers (similar to crabs, both kinds), except for the bright Disney bus that brought us to Crappy, I mean Krabi, which I’m not sure even counts, as Shimmer Tits still laughs at my uber-blonde emergence at a snack stop midway through the night.

SugarTits, as we exit the bus to purchase some strange, Thai snacks, namely fried broad beans and corn milk: “Taylor, don’t let me lose you.  I won’t know which bus to get back onto.”


Shimmertits, staring at our bright-as-the-sun, supervamped, bedazzled Mickey Mouse overnight bus parked amongst a bunch of stream-line, plain-jane buses, dumbfounded by my hopeless oblivion: “Um…it’s the bright Mickey Mouse bus that Minnie and Goofy are skiing all over.” SugarTits, figuring out the obvious: “Right.  Well it is the middle of the night, and I haven’t had my Thai corn milk yet. I’m a little out of sorts, as usual. You should know this by now. We’ve spent the last 60 days together. My lack of awareness should be expected.” By the end of the trip, it would be completely embraced, as well as expected. Shimmertits, to herself: “Whew. Seven more hours to go. Bliss, here we come.”

Probably twelve hours later, a few Kinderbuenos and countless glossy magazines later, oh, and one princess towel to cover up against the leaking air conditioner, we finally reached Crappy, sorry I mean Krabi.  And it was, indeed Krabi, and I do mean disappointing/offensive.  We did not find golden beaches and frolicking bliss. We did not find cheap, cute bungalows, and we did not find clear, delicious waters. We found leathery banana hammocked European creepsters and very expensive mascara. We did not find Glitter Bliss (aka Ko Tao).  We found Krabi (aka lame).

The Love Shacks and the Nasty: The day was spent dodging banana hammocks and being absolute cheapskates, which we have a knack for, because we like to keep our wallets nice and plump, just like our hips (that don’t lie). Badonkadonk.  We finally gave in and spent a whopping $14 on accommodation for the evening after hours of exploring and one splashy longtail ride to Ralay Beach.  But there was air conditioning. Glorious.


We were on a splurging roll so I payed $3.00 for a cup of Earl Gray Tea somewhere (during a tea obsession).  Taylor realized she had not packed her mascara (a must!) and spent $9 on some crappy stuff.  We spent the evening bitching about the stench and eyesore of Krabi and reading The Game , which means that I snuck a read in every time she put her book down because I got hooked.  I recommend.

Fearing our wallets needed to go on a diet, we opted to find a cheaper room.  In a state of what now can only be classified as Krabi-crazy, we agreed to rent a jail cell for the evening.  It wasn’t an actual jail cell, but it was definitely worse.  Did you see the Beach?  His first room?  It was way worse.  Down a dark little alley with a barred entrance, no windows, one tiny bed, a smelly bathroom, and a concrete floor.  But we saved a whole $5, which we spent drowning out our misery over Manhattans and steak.  Which actually means that the little jail cell flooded (and it wasn’t even Songkran, but that’s another story so stay tuned) and we went out for drinks to stay dry, but realized that Manhattans are not Cosmopolitans and steak in Thailand is…not steak…and we went back sober and hungry for a night of Krabi 69, complete with coconut incense to cover the stench from the flood. We didn’t actually both fit on the bed ($5 is a lot in Asia, okay) so we had to sleep in a 69 position.  Thank goodness for cheap Thailand pedicures because Taylor’s feet smelled great.  We slept through it.  We laughed a little, and we didn’t get sick of each other, the stench we did get sick of, but not the company. The next morning Taylor lost her swimming suit, neither of us got a tan, or swam in the ocean because it stunk, and we tried to raise our spirits by ordering our favorite morning glory for lunch, but the ritzy lunch place we went to didn’t have it.  Struck out again.  We made our way back to our little university town on another bus where the seats would not recline, with no more glossy magazines, but plenty of leaking air conditioners.  We did not find the Krabi we were looking for.


The Romance: We found losing-our-swimsuit morning, and morning-glory-rejected afternoon.  We found cutting-our-feet-on-coral beach jaunts, overpriced-mascara-runs, and Manhattans-are-disgusting-evenings.  We found banana hammocks. We found Krabi.  But we also found the Krabi 69.  We found that we could travel together.  Through banana hammocks, dieting wallets, jail cells, and disappointment.  Through thick and thin. And so we found romance after all.  We found some kindred for our spirits, and developed a heavy reliance for princess towels, backup mascara, and incense matches for further adventures around the world.  We found that laughter is necessary for disappointment, and lame banana hammock/jail cell vacations make great memories.

Next up: Ko Tao (Surprise Bliss).

Love, Sugartits


Ice Cream is NOT Gelato

17 Jan

Gelato is not ice cream, I discovered on my third round of Italian heaven that dairyful day in Florence.  Ice cream is not nearly as addictive.  The colors aren’t as real, and it’s definitely not something you can get away with having for lunch on an international adventure. gelattooo It’s amateur, what poor college students pair with red vines for a sugar-fix dinner while cramming for exams.gelato...

It’s  a floozy.  It’s cheap.  Gelato is decadent.   It is the proper companion for buying leather goods at Lorenzo Market.  It’s breakfast on the Spanish Steps, it’s every fruit and nut under the Tuscan sun.  It’s bonding with Russian tourists, gelattomore delicious than a gondola ride in Venice, and the only excuse worthy of not visiting naked David, gelato davidor any museum in Europe, for that matter.  It’s the perfect date for writing letters to Juliet in Verona.gelatto juliet

Ice cream, however, is getting an invitation to get together for some ‘casual time’ from that creep who’s stalking you from your much-older brother’s facebook page.

gelato.I’ll PASS.


Pretend Asti

17 Jan

My biological twin sister is going to be in Seattle for a day, one day, the same day that Rabbit was going to surprise me for a birthday present,
which happened to land in the middle of my Christmas present from my thoughtful boyfriend to visit my bride in Hawaii.  Jan blog 1
That’s almost all of my favorite people.  It’s a lot of stars trying really hard to align, but it seems they are off balance.  Maybe the universe should try my hot yoga class (that I stopped going to in July because I’m really lazy).

I am still trying to wrap my head around it.  Thank you stars, for gracing me with these girls that I love!

I actually sat in bed thinking about it this morning, trying to figure out how I met my twin, which is not something that most twins have ever thought about.  We don’t have the same parents, you see, but there is something very identical in our biology- we speak the same color, which is something you might only understand if you are a twin.

 I knew her in New York, moving from apartment to apartment in the bitter cold with a shopping cart and bathrobes under our sleeping bag jackets.  But wait- Paris was before that, with cheese and baguettes for every meal. No, before that.  

Flashes of lazy afternoons in Sydney wearing Ugg slippers, braiding hair, and making rice bread and tres leches cake. Jan blog 7 No, it was even before that.

London.  Of course.  We met in London.  We were living in the same flat, with her sister, Lucy, Starbucks-employed crazed Italian with an unhealthy obsession with The PetShop Boys,  Jennifer, the quiet South African, and Carina, who is still willing to pretend that we share a private jet with a pilot named Roberto. Our 2-bedroom flat was just off Portobello road, with a yellow door, a flat roof over the pantry that we used for movie nights with strange boys, a refrigerator full of River Cafe staff meal leftovers, and tire skids marking the hallway from our ten dollar (five pound) bicycles. Jan blog 6

 But that’s another story, just like the time we met a boy called Harry, drove across the English channel, and spent the night sleeping in a Farmer’s field in France, January Blog 3 and midnight champagne under the Eiffel Tower, Barcelona fruit markets, navigating Croatia in the freezing cold (will someone please just sort us out?), the trips to visit each other in New Mexico and Australia, our Iceland/London reunion, January Blog 4and the countless criss-crossing in New York City.  We’ve lived there, separately and together, with and without her sister, who I still want to call Pumpkin even though she doesn’t look like one, too many times to count.  Well, probably at least five.  I forgot how to do math ages ago.

I would say now, “I digress,” because it’s  true, but I am not that person.  It’s too East Coast for me, and it sounds like something a person would say while wearing a pink-button-down shirt and loafers on a sailboat near Cape Cod. 

So yeah.

Courtney, which is my twin’s name, is going to be here on February 4th (Rabbit will be here the following week, upon my return- thankfully- and that is another story!)  I will be drunk on mai tais, fat off of my bride’s cinnamon rolls,  and sunburned to a perfect crisp (which is partly the reason why I’ll be drunk, but only partly) on an epic beach in Hawaii.  It’s February, so it’ll be bright cold sunny for Courtney, and a whole lot warmer than New York City, where she lives and works.  And since she works for 3.0 Philip Lim, she will be the most stylish stunner in Seattle.  Her rabbit-lined cashmere sparkle scarf (I need one) will keep her warmer than my mai tais and Hawaiian sun.  Since I can’t actually see Courtney, I have whipped up a pretend outline of what we would have done together on her one day in my beloved Sparkletown Emerald City of green and rain and water and mountains and islands and coffee and markets and vintage and everything that I love.
Seattle is not London, and it is not New York City, so I will have to take her to the places that aren’t too reminiscent of  London or NYC.  Maybe some vintage shopping, jan blog 11but no department stores (this is a girl who spends her days visiting Bergdorf Goodman and Barney’s and developed her very own lingerie line, so our cute little Nordstroms downtown will fail to impress).  I’ll have to take her to my favorite views, to give her a chance at some fresh air and blue sky.  Ferries, islands, and The Market.  We’ll probably have to begin and end at the Market.  We’ll say that she’s coming on a Thursday, because that’s probably my favorite day.  It’s going to be a very busy day.  I hope she got plenty of sleep on the plane. Ready?

1. I pick  her up at the airport.  But before I go to the airport, I head over to
Crumble and Flake to purchase a couple kouign amanns to greet her with.  Have you tried them?  They’re amazing.  

2. After we shriek with delight and irritate everyone in the arrivals section, we will take a slight detour over to Bakery Nouveau for a couple twice baked almond croissants, Cupcake Royale for a latte, and head over to Alki Beach (if it’s not too windy) for a romantic walk with a view of Seattle and Puget Sound and her dashing islands.  We’ll catch up on our lives, and squeal about 50 times about how weird and awesome it is that we’re growing up (awesome because we’re growing up on our terms).

3. We’ll head over to Pike Place Market, my favorite.  We’ll buy flowers, browse the different stalls and buildings, sample olive oil, fruit, taste the cheese at Beecher’s, which is just as delicious as that famous place in Greenwich Village whose name  I can’t remember, buy CD’s from buskers (definitely the guys who are outside starbucks.  We will not go into the original starbuck, because we’re not in Spain -where Starbucks is the only place where workers HAVE to be nice to you).
We’ll taste wine, head into the magic shop, buy candy, and maybe something kitchy with the Space Needle on it, or some Chinese slippers for Pumpkin.


jan blog 10
We’ll have lunch at The Pink Door, the magical pink place I’ve summered since I’ve been in Seattle.  It’s my Cape Cod, what can I say?
We’ll sit in the sunny lounge at Table 204, the one that overlooks the Big Wheel, and Brigitte the mannequin, whose outfit changes seasonallly,  and Brigitte the Cat.  We’ll take a picture to send to Brigitte (Pumpkin), Courtney’s sister.  We’ll have lots of cocktails and eat Beecher’s grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato basil soup.  We’ll have another cocktail for dessert, I’ll definitely have the black walnut Manhattan, not because we’ve lived in Manhattan before, but because it’s the only Manhattan that I’ve had that doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to grow hair on my chest.  Too bad it’s not Sunday or Monday night because that’s when the aeralists perform.
 Well, if we’re playing pretend, then we’ll pretend that Rachel makes a special lunch appearance.  We’ll marvel at her performance and feel very lazy about ourselves.

5. Then, since we’re getting good at playing pretend, we’ll have our driver, probably the driver of a Subaru because this is Seattle and they always have seat warmers, take us to Ballard.  We’ll drive over to the Ballard Locks, maybe take a little detour to Golden Gardens, and then he’ll take us over to Ballard Ave.  We’ll pretend it’s London’s Portobello Road.  jan blog 12
First stop, Trove.  It’s full of treasures and it’s what I want my life to look like.  It’s the most perfectly curated shop I’ve ever set foot in.  I want to buy everything in there.  We probably will buy everything in there because that’s how the game of pretend works.  I will be her Philip Lim vintage counterpart, without the dustball fragrance.
Next, we’ll stroll down Ballard Ave, and tuck into my favorite Ballard coffee shop.  I can’t recall the name, but it’s the one with rice milk chai lattes that don’t taste like hippie.  It’s attached to a sewing shop, and  has a little loft nook with tiny furniture and beautiful plants.  We’ll sip our faux hippie lattes and read vintage glossy magazines.

6. After that, it’ll be time to have some hot chocolate because pretend lets you be decadent.  Our driver (how very New York of us!) will show us the sights in Fremont.  We might even take a picture with the troll under the bridge in our new-to-us vintage party dresses that smell like Miss Dior.  We’ll pick up some hot chocolate and a slice of coconut lemon cake at Simply Desserts, and head over to the tiny neighborhood park on Palatine.  It’s he one that overlooks the Olympic mountains, Ballard, and its canal.  It’s a secret little view, and we’ll drink hot chocolate and look at the twinkly lights of the city until we get cold.jan blog 9
7. And then we will head over to Capitol Hill for dinner and drinks, so I can show her our little Brooklyn.  I really don’t know where we’re going.  Terra Plata?  Melrose Market? Spinasse?  Dinette? I’ve only been to Spinasse, and the pasta is amazing, but it’s not cosy enough for our dinner.  I’m always freezing in there. We might head over to Needle and Thread afterwards, but I can’t decide if the secret telephone bit is too New York.
We might skip drinks because there’s no Beach Blanket Babylon in Seattle.  

8. We’re going over to the ferry next, anyhow, packing a bottle of Asti,asti and some dark chocolate and heading over to Bainbridge Island just for the ride.  We’ll drink and each chocolate, and talk about boys on the ferry (it’s a heated indoor ferry, you know).  If it were summer, we’d finish up our bubbly at Myrtle Edwards Park, on a big fluffy blanket overlooking the neon jewels that sparkle the water, in the shadows of the Sculpture Garden.  But it’s not.

9. So we’ll go to a show.  I’m sure Hannalee or The Crying Shame will be playing somewhere.  We’ll meet up with Seattle friends, and spend the night dancing like we were 20 again.  If we end up back at Pike Place, cocktailing at Il Bistro or The Can-Can, that’ll be even better.

10. And when exhaustion finds us, we’ll have our driver take us over to our luxury houseboat on Lake Union and we’ll watch Amelie until we’re asleep.

Jan blog 5

wine not

Life is short, savor every moment. Wine not?