Thursday, May 22, 2014

Exploring the Backyard. San Francisco, Ca

Graffiti Art, Raw Beauty

The light at the end of the tunnel

The Natural

The Ruins of the Sutro Baths

Golden Gate Goodness

View from the top

On this majestic May Monday, I went on an impromptu exploration of the city with my good friend. We decided on a location close to where I reside and thus, Ocean Beach or more specifically, The Sutro Baths at the end of the beach was our destination (a mere 15 minutes from me).

Blessed with beautiful weather, the Baths and the woods were perfect for us nature loving gals and it would be our last Funday for awhile (my fearless friend will be leaving for Asia). Now when I say Funday, it really is a fun day and they last for four hours or more, usually more. Despite both of our busy schedules we were able to squeeze in one last girl time of walking aimlessly with no specific plan, as our Fundays usually go. On this particular day we began at the ruins of the Baths and from there hiked through the nearby woods, unexpectedly finding ourselves closer and closer to the Golden Gate Bridge, the coveted prize.

I haven't blogged in a few months, but this excursion was the inspiration that I needed. The day was too beautiful, the landscape and the company, that I knew I had to share it. The best part was that I was able to enjoy a day out with an awesome friend in my beautiful backyard at no charge. Sometimes we just have to remind ourselves that the best things in life … are free.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Night Owls With No Mission. Valencia St. San Francisco, Ca

Date night at the adorable Foreign Cinema

Drinks before dinner

Never too old for a bathroom selfie

In wonderment of the sequined gold jumper

Graffiti art appreciation

A Hidden Door

One cold January evening, one of my besties and I reunited for a belated holiday dinner date. She had (finally!) come back home (to our Bay Area) for break from grad school in Boston. All hail the conquering graduate! We decided on dinner in the Mission District of San Francisco, a once dangerous (still is in some areas) neighborhood known for its gang violence, but has now changed into a trendy night spot welcoming the cool. The district is also known for it's large Latino population: the area is rich in culture as it's many alleys and buildings are painted with murals that each tell a powerful story. While I admit to basking in the new cute spots in the neighborhood, I'm alarmed at how rapidly the area has changed (I haven't lived in Northern California in five years). The last thing I would want is for the old residents to be completely wiped out and the gritty yet colorful life that once thrived to only be a thing of the past; a cookie cutter neighborhood "The Mission" should never be.

But I set my feelings aside to traipse about on a cold winter's night with an old friend. Dinner at Foreign Cinema set the festive tone of our holiday dinner (your wallet won't be so festive after your meal though. Just a warning). But the ambiance is spectacular! You'll enjoy fine food under romantic starry string lights and a movie playing against a far wall. This is definitely an eatery to visit. After dinner we set out in search of a nic nacs boutique where they sold Jane Austen band aids (the store ended up being closed). But along the way we were lured by the sight of a 6'2 blonde drag queen from inside a restaurant and bar where we subsequently made a pit stop to quench our thirst (the allure of a drag queen is never easy to resist. She was aloof though, but no matter!). Our last random stop before heading home was at an Indian restaurant where we picked up delectable tandoori chicken and a chicken wrap to share.

The only plan for the night was dinner at Foreign Cinema and the rest was ... whatever we felt like doing. It wasn't a crazy night, by any means, but it fulfilled a mentality that I and many of us had when we were younger or in college. I'll admit that nights like this are rare for me now, but when they happen, I cherish them. We should cherish them.

*Point of interest when visiting San Francisco's Mission District:
Balmy Alley

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Belle of the Ball. San Francisco, California

Happy post-Thanksgiving to all and to another Black Friday Shopping Extravaganza! The holidays have officially begun and so have the parties: Christmas, New Years, whatever holiday you love to celebrate! And what's the best about holiday parties (besides the food, of course)? ... Looking amazing, that's what! With that, I've added two more collection garments to my Etsy for any holiday or window shoppers (so you can get in the mood of what you'd like to wear for your holiday). If you're new to my blog, these are my collection garments. Therefore they've been worn for fashion shows only and they are one of a kind, designed and sewn by me. Below is a peak of the other garments that are already on my Etsy. My collection was inspired by the glamour of the 1920's and 1930's (I'm a vintage gal through and through) ... except for the LED light dress above, that was a for a special category.  

Feel free to check my Etsy for more details, click this link: MusingsWithMissP
Or you can email me directly at


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Castles and Countrysides. London, England. Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2013


To the stocks she goes!! At Warwick Castle

Where's the best place to be on All Hallow's Eve? In a castle of course ... for an hour at least ...

He sang me a bard in front of  our dear Shakespeare's birth home. At Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon

Driving through The Cotswolds. A tiny peak of the beautiful villages. How 'bout those thatched roofs, eh?

Who says touristy things aren't fun? "Local" life is so overrated!
Hehejk. But, seriously, we didn't have time fa dat! 

We spent our last two days in England on guided tours outside of London. Being that it might be awhile before we have another grand European adventure, we decided to jam pack as many places and landmarks as possible. This included a 5:30am wake up call the morning after the WGSN Awards (Oh, yes we did!). 

We started our day at Warwick Castle, a fortress that began its construction around the year 914, mhmm 914.  So you can  imagine that with the likes of William the Conqueror, Richard Neville, Queen Elizabeth I, and a surplus of dukes, earls, queens, and kings that contributed to it's story, that this castle had no shortage of a rich and tumultuous history ... and ghosts for that matter. Oh yes, hauntings are definitely part of the attraction. Surprise! That's really why we decided to visit on Halloween! ;) They even had a haunted maze for the kiddies where we met a rather friendly "ghost" along the way. The creepiest installation though was the lifelike wax figures of Henry VIII and all of his six wives on display inside one of the rooms. I wouldn't want to be the one closing up by myself in the evenings if you catch my drift. From there we visited Stratford-Upon-Avon where William Shakespeare's birth home stands. The inside of his home was recreated to look the way it must have been when he was still living: beds, dinner settings, and curators dressed as if they had been plucked from the Elizabethan era (acting included). After Stratford-Upon-Avon, we drove through the  Cotswolds (a glimpse). Lush hills and sleepy villages dating back to the middle ages, make up the natural wonder and charm of this countryside.

Welcome to my university! ... kidding, I only wish it were so ... or do I?  University of Oxford

The sistah girl pose lives on! I had to! Because I would've deeply regretted not having done this at Oxford.

 Our final destination that Halloween Thursday was Oxford and its university (another haunted locale Weee!). The town and the prestigious University of Oxford was gorgeous with impressive gothic architecture and tall spires. Besides its collegiate status, the university was the inspiration of one famous school that you may have heard of (or may not have), Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The staircase and famous dining hall in the film were replicated from Oxford's own. While not the wildest Harry Potter fan or purist (I only enjoy the movies), Oxford was definitely my favorite trip of the day. I don't know if I would go to school there, but I would love to spend the weekend and traipse about town ... preferably on a vintage bike, wearing saddle shoes, a sweater, and trousers with the hems slightly cuffed (cute, yeah?). 
Visiting Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II at her official home, Windsor Castle.

Our final England outing, the Friday before our early Saturday departures, began at Windsor Castle, the actual home (or one of them) of the current constitutional monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Unfortunately, she wasn't there when we came acallin' (Rude! lol). I think she's only there on the weekends. The interior of the castle was lavish; rooms and halls filled with expensive furniture, souvenirs from conquests, and gifts from all over the world: priceless. But, the most impressive artifact was the tomb of Henry VIII and last wife, Jane Seymour, housed in an underground tomb of the castle's chapel. You could say that I had a (quiet) geek out. I wish photos were allowed. He wasn't my favorite king by any means (adultery, the inventor of divorce for selfish reasons, and oh yeah ruthless beheadings of some of his wives), but I was in the land of the notorious king that I'd read so much about and he was right under my feet. Nuts!
Big sis, Len, being all dignified and such. At Stonehenge

It really is a wonderment isn't it?

For Jane Austen fans, specifically fans of "Persuasion," the pump rooms are located inside that building to the left! ... and the Ancient Roman baths are in there too. Our last stop, Bath

Exhausted and my canker sore (from cutting my mouth by accident) was in full force.

Waiting and resting, a random courtyard in Bath.

After, Windsor Castle we trekked to Stonehenge, where it was freezing and rainy. But, that only added to its magnificence. We zipped through Stonehenge, however, because our guide was terrible, good historian, but as tour guide .... the worst. If it wasn't for his driver, the sweet natured Malcolm, all hell would've broken loose. Free Malcolm! Free Malcolm! was the motto of the day. Beautiful countryside anyway especially when we made it to the village of Laycock for lunch, the delicious beef wellington was worth the wait. Laycock is also the setting for some scenes of the BBC's "Pride and Prejudice" series from the '90's (that's right, the one that launched Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, the Darcy that remains in all our hearts). 
Our final destination was Bath, deep into the countryside. Another bad news for us, besides not seeing the Jane Austen Museum, we never saw the famous street lined with all the apartments that you see in films ("Persuasion") and in advertising brochures (*shakes fist in the air* Dang you tour guide that I will not name (unless asked!). But of course, like many places in England (and Europe), Bath was equally enchanting.

On our way back to our hotel in London, I knew that I was ready to go home (and not just for the sole reason that day by day more parts of my hair was frizzing out, growing into a bulbous Will Shakespeare hairstyle with bangs ... think about it). I was content (still eager to visit again though) but, I finally visited the country of my dreams. What a strange coincidence that the venue for my award nomination just so happened to be in London. Despite not winning, I think that coincidence was definitely a gift and with that, I have nothing but utmost appreciation for life's sweet surprises. 
Cheers, London! Thanks for the trip and I'll see you soon!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

WGSN Global Fashion Awards. London, England. Oct. 30, 2013

Brunch with these ladies: From left side of table (Front to back) Suzy, Denise, Lauren, Sophie. Right side of table (Front to back) Friend of Hanna, Luiza, Dianne, Me, Lucy. 

The Victoria and Albert Museum foyer transformed for a grand party

 British celebrity ... I fancied her dress. Of course I can't pull that off, but hats off to her!

One of the finalists, Han Zhongshu (Suzy ;) And her date.

They held the awards ceremony inside the exhibit of religious art. How Blessed.

Cat Deeley,  host of "So You Think You Can Dance" was our host for the evening. I love her! 

What I traveled thousands of miles for.

Christopher Bailey, Head Designer of Burberry, won an award!! I love what he's done with the brand, he's brilliant. 
The wonderful, Dianne Lober, manager of Brand Communications for Invista in the US. 
Lucy Gardner, the winner of the Lycra Future Designers Award. 

Shireeka Devlin, the winner of the Lycra Future Designers Award last year, 2012

Mumsie and I getting our pose on

I probably won't be making my own dress for awhile. Too stressful, I say.

Free drinks y'all!

The day began with brunch in Piccadilly Circus (the prettiest shopping district) with the ladies of Lycra, WGSN, and the finalists of the Lycra Future Designer Awards. The food at French restaurant Aubaine was delicious, a definite must for future London visitors. Later, I rode the Tube to Liverpool Street where I took the wrong turn and ended up in what looked like a financial district. Loads of men in suits made me assume such, though I must say that many of those working gents knew how to choose a good tailor (two thumbs up and a girlish smile from me, yay everyone wins!).

When my mother and I arrived at the V&A that evening, it was freezing and we had to wait awhile before they let us in. Once inside though, the museum was best dressed in purple lighting to get us party ready. I was more nervous than I thought I would be, but the drinks were free, appetizers made their way, and I left my coat at the coat check. Let the awards begin ... in another hour ... or two. After our three course meal was served, host Cat Deeley, was on her way with the festivities. The categories and winners went by rather fast (a mix of the host rushing because they started late and my nervous anticipation, so everything before our category was a blur).
Finally our category was next.
"Award for Individual Designer: The Lycra Future Designers Award ..." I could barely breathe. My name was introduced first along with a shot of my illustrations.
 "Pa-treet-zia Cla-reetza," she read my name first and continued to introduce the other finalists.

She made sure she pronounced my name correctly in her best Italian accent except ... it's not an Italian name and I am definitely not Italian, lol (Still love her though!). Alas, I didn't win. Lucy Gardner from the UK won the coveted prize. For a minute I was disappointed and then relieved that the anxiety was over. I still felt exhilarated, though. I was honored to have even been picked from thousands internationally, then one of thirteen, and down to the final four. I was just as excited to travel to London, a place that I'd dreamt of visiting, the place where I could finally use my British accent (Cockney was my specialty. I had practiced for years), but knew that I probably shouldn't, haha. So with that I congratulated Lucy, who I had gotten to know over brunch and I'm genuinely happy she won ;)). I also said my good-byes to the lovely Lycra ladies Luiza, Denise, and Dianne (who I had also gotten to know over email). Everyone that I had met from WGSN, Lycra and the 3 finalists were all so pleasant and kind, which made this experience all the better. So to celebrate my personal win, I grabbed another champagne (winning!) before the night was over ... and right before the mother would pull me out to taxi back to the hotel. Cheers to the night and to an early excursion in the morning!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Paris Je t'aime. Paris, France. Oct. 28, 2013

Arc de Triomphe. Blurry, I took a quick shot from inside the tour bus

Atop the Eiffel Tower. A view of The Trocadero.

Under La Tour Eiffel

Ankle Touch

Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. Shot taken on the River Seine
Boat tour on the River Seine. Don't my mind mother hair lol, it reacted to London water and frizzed out like crazy and despite my buying a converter/adapter, my straightener still broke. Thus, the mother hair appeared.

Shot of Musee du Louvre from inside of the Musee du Louvre. It's that big!

My bff, Mo. Such a crowd just to get a glimpse. I haven't squeezed my way to the front since my last concert (which was a long time ago).

Musee du Louvre. "We love it!"

Opera Populaire. The home of the Phantom. Tour bus shot.

To beat the dreaded English storm, we jetted off to Paris for a day. Though we were at the St. Pancras station by dawn, the weather situation kept us from leaving at our scheduled time causing a tight tour of Paris upon arrival. But, the early trek on the Euro Rail was worth it. Paris was sunny and absolutely gorgeous.

*Cue iconic French song of your dreams*

The classic architecture of the buildings were very familiar, it reminded me of the equally lovely country, Italy. But once you enter the Avenue des Champs-Elysees the city's beauty is entirely its own. Our first stop was the packed Eiffel Tower. From there we took an hour boat tour on the River Seine and got a good glimpse of the grande city. Yet, the lack of sleep loomed over us and the lull of the boat rocked us into dreamland. One by one we plummeted ... for a good 10 to 15 minutes each. 

Our final stop was the Musee du Louvre. One word: Opulent. Mind you, I was exhausted at this point and my feet were hurting, but going through (what we could get through) was well worth the pain. The museum is a gargantuan work of art in itself with gilded rooms and long hallways of art from every century, ancient Mesopotamia to Da Vinci ... including the (small in size, but huge in price) Mona Lisa. I was excited to see the art that I had studied in school (if I wasn't in design, I would've be an art history teacher). The courtyard of the museum was equally brilliant and we took advantage of the scenery by taking as much photos as possible. *Le sigh* The trip was short as we headed back to England the same night, but the day was a great peak into this romantic city. Paris is magnificent, if not a little ostentatious. It's full of pomp and circumstance and I'm definitely coming back again one day. 

*Cue iconic French farewell song*

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