A few weeks back I left the soggy lands of Portland to travel to red plains of Phoenix, AZ for a few days for work. Though my time there was primarily spent working, I did manage to take a day to do a little exploring and R&R.

Knowing little about Phoenix and being solo, I wanted to do something on foot that wouldn’t just involve going out to eat only. Being a big admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright, I was very excited to remember that he had designed a building at ASU’s campus in Tempe, which was only a thirty minute light rail ride from my hotel.

From photos I have seen I knew what I was looking for, but when I finally came across it while walking the campus it was nothing like I had ever seen before, even for FLW. It looked like a giant copper cake from mars! Adorned with beautiful scalloped edges and layers, it glowed in the early desert sun. The doors were locked so I couldn’t venture in, but I could only imagine the burnt orange carpet that ran through it.


Another favorite was the H.B. Farmer Education Building. Again with the monotone burnt orange edges with the softness of the globe light and and pops of greenery. This building was definitely a blast from the past that hopefully never gets a modern renovation. As I left the campus I wondered if the students appreciated the architecture and it’s history. Probably not. But hopefully one day some will.


Since I was going to be in town for four nights I wanted to stay at a hotel that was a little outside of the general Downtown area and that stayed more alive post business hours. I booked my stay at the Found:Re, a boutique hotel in the Arts District. The layout and decor of the rooms reminded me a lot of the Ace DTLA with it’s floating bed and interactive shower.
My room had a nice view of the street and some restaurants so even though I could be up in my room binging on HGTV I didn’t feel isolated.


After my walk through ASU did a little self-care poolside with a vibrant cocktail. I actually cannot remember the last time I actually laid out and did nothing by a pool. And I forgot how relaxing it was. Must do again soon!


Being my last night there and making the most of my one day off like a vacation, I took myself out to dinner (rather than ordering room service) down to the hotel’s restaurant Match. So I confidently ordered myself the ribs and enjoyed a night out solo - something I do not do often. Best part, no one talked to me. Maybe it was the ribs. Either way, it was just how I wanted my evening to go.


Though Phoenix is still not on my top 10 destinations to visit, I was pleasantly surprised with what it had to offer during my short and busy stay. Until next time…

Also tbh, I meant to post this weeks ago but life. Enjoy!





Chicago, IL.  This city and I have something going on.

If you know me, you know I love Chicago. And more so, I love my family there.
About 2 weeks ago, my beloved Uncle John passed away.   He was my Mom's youngest brother (out of 2).  He lived in the same house his entire life in the tight-knit Ukranian Village quarter of Chicago; a neighborhood that he witnessed go through many transformations (90's...not so good). Every summer, as far back as I can remember, my family would fly from LA to Chicago.  My older brother and I would spend anywhere from a week to a month there while my parents traveled.  My grandparents (Baba and Dido), Uncle John, and Uncle Mike "watched over us" as we ran amuck up and down the house. Those summers have been the best memories of my life to this day.  

My family owns an iconic brick three-flat within the village that lines the streets with their rust-colored bricks and unforgettable facades. Most of the homes built in this area date circa 1930s and are filled head to toe with vintage charm, all the original hardware and personal touches that make a home a family heirloom.  This house has been such a large part of my life, and what I love about it the most: it looks the same inside and out as it did from the first day I walked in.  

During my recent visit back to honor my Uncle's passing, I was able to meet a lot of his friends in the neighborhood and heard stories about him that I never knew.  He was a favorite in the community, and in a way, a guardian to most.  Witnessing such a strong community within such a large city was truly humbling and made me more proud of where my family was from.

Six and half years ago, I gave my dog, Frankenstein aka Frankie, to my Uncle John.  He devoted his life to this little dog, giving her endless love and guidance, making her the sweetest little nugget today.  Frankie remains in the neighborhood and will keep his presence alive.

Uncle John was truly a saint - a man that lived his life his way and his way only, keeping his original mullet hair cut from his younger days, 1970's glasses, and a no-BS attitude.  He was also the most loving, caring, and mindful man I have ever met, always putting others before himself and remaining completely devoted to his loved ones.  I am forever grateful for his generous heart and for him taking in my dog and loving her endlessly when life wouldn't allow me to have her.  He will be missed, but will never be forgotten.