Burning Love

Photo by Shawn Harlan https://www.facebook.com/glow.gyrl

Photo by Brad Grossman https://www.facebook.com/brad.grossman.50

I have been reading the recaps pouring in from Burning Man (here is one of my faves), and I feel nostalgic for the magical memories I have from attending the event over the course of 10+ years. I wish I could go again, but right now, my time is devoted to my baby boy. As I scan the pictures of art installations, colorful costumes, and the temple engulfed in electric orange flames, I’m not jealous. I’m happy that 70,000 people were able to experience the same joy I felt when I was there.

The night that the Man burned, I texted some of my friends, “Thinking of you tonight on Burn Night and all the memories we shared during Burning Man.”

One texted back, “Wow what great times we shared. I cherish them. Some of the best times of my life. Thank you.”

It’s hard to convey what Burning Man is…a festival, an experiment in temporary community, art and raves in the middle of the desert. Maybe I can demystify it a little with a couple of those cherished memories.

I remember biking around the playa with my friend Joanna, exploring the city. We stopped at bars, chugged a few drinks, then biked around some more, making our way from one outdoor dance club to another. We were about done for the night when she pointed at a structure in the distance, glistening from the dim light of lanterns. We pulled up to an open yurt with a long dining room table and benches to sit and relax. There was no one there, just the two of us, stumbling upon this oasis. Laid out on the table were slices of cake on paper plates. Timidly, we took a couple bites. Moist sugary goodness, as if a sheet of cake had recently been cut up. We looked at each other, eyes arching in shock, is this for real? Seriously, is this place for real?

I have heard several people say that the event is about bartering. That’s not true at all. It’s a gift economy, with nothing expected in return. And it’s not necessarily gifting of material things, but offering and sharing from the heart. Once I was caught in a dust storm. You’re supposed to be prepared at all times for the worst, but I wasn’t. In fact, I was scared. Scared because I could not see anything in any direction except for sand-colored dust. Plus I was alone. I crouched down low to protect my face, but I was also scared that at any moment a car or bike would bludgeon me. Out of nowhere, someone crossed my path on foot, saw that I was unprotected, removed his own goggles and placed them over my head while tightening and making adjustments to fit them over my eyes. He took his dust mask off and cupped it over my mouth. Then he walked away.

Or the time when my camp mates decided to forego the wild parties and stay in for the night. We gathered in a circle, cups of wine in hand, and played round after round of Apples to Apples. We couldn’t stop giggling and jabbing each other. The next day, everyone kept saying how fun it had been, as if we had partied like a bunch of yahoos when all we had done was play simple board games. These are only a couple examples, but I have a lot of stories like that.

But more than anything, what I genuinely feel as I read the news articles and scroll through picture after picture is love. In a world where people have turned their backs on one another, where children are washing ashore dead, we need love. It may be hidden or clouded, or we may have lost our way or conscience, but love exists. Sometimes we have to take a trip or make a realignment, and that’s ok. Whether that means attending a festival, conference, spiritual retreat, or Burning Man, then let’s do it.

The reason why Burning Man means so much to me, and I imagine to the many people who have attended, is because love spilleth over on the dusty playa. The ethos and culture is pure, effusive, love for strangers.

If we connected in more kind, generous ways, there would be less gun violence, more openness to refugees, diminished politics, more collaboration, and greater understanding. That said, we may think we need to travel to Black Rock City to find that connection again, but love is accessible, right here and now in our own communities.

I began this post with pictures of a haunting art installation from this year’s Burn. I had to learn more about this sad, beautiful piece. Serendipitously, after writing the majority of this post, I learned that the name of the piece is LOVE, created by Alexandr Milov from Odessa, Ukraine. Here is a description of the piece from the Burning Man 2015 Art Installation web page.

“LOVE is a sculpture by Alexandr Milov. It demonstrates a conflict between a man and a woman as well as the outer and inner expression of human nature. The figures of the protagonists are made in the form of big metal cages, where their inner selves are captivated. Their inner selves are executed in the form of transparent children, who are holding out their hands through the grating. As it’s getting dark (night falls) the children chart to shine. This shining is a symbol of purity and sincerity that brings people together and gives a chance of making up when the dark time arrives.”

Although I did not go this year, I’m reminded of how connected I felt, how respected and loved. Burners call normal life, the ‘default world’ and we all profess how we will try very hard to take the ethos of Burning Man back to the default world after the event is over. That is difficult to do. But my hope is that today on the anniversary of September 11, even in the midst of darkness, you will think back on treasured memories when your heart soared and you loved. Life can be and is good.

Guide to Palm Springs

It’s Fall already and it is hotter than hell in this neck of the woods. Dean had to install an air conditioner in Franco’s room yesterday, it was so damn hot. By the way, no one has AC in the Bay Area. You just always opened up a window to sufficiently cool off. But global warming has ushered in a new era of unbearable heat. After putting together a Guide to Seattle, I thought it would be fun to continue building my travel guides. There’s no better way to say good-bye to summer than a trek to always sunny Palm Springs.

Palm Springs is very special to us as it’s the place where we got married and celebrated with 100 family members and friends. Someone had suggested we might want to check it out as a wedding location and the very first time Dean and I stepped into the Ace Hotel, we knew we had found our spot. Everything about Palm Springs screams VACATION! It’s hot, fun, and relaxing.


Ace Hotel & Swim Club
701 E Palm Canyon Dr.

A converted Howard Johnson motel, the Ace Hotel is desert hip. The rooms are rustically decorated—like you are camping, but in a luxury tent. Plus everything you need is at the hotel: bikes (not that I have ever biked in 90 degree temperature!), Vespas, two pools, a spa (nothing fancy), a diner (a converted Denny’s called King’s Highway), a bar (the Amigo Room), and a photobooth.

Motel 6
595 E Palm Canyon Dr.

There is a Motel 6 next to the Ace Hotel that is super cheap (obviously) and perfectly sufficient if you don’t plan to spend all day lounging in your room. I say that because you can sleep at the Motel, then make your way to the Ace to lounge poolside.

Parker Palm Springs
4200 E. Palm Canyon Dr.

If I had my druthers, this is where I would stay in Palm Springs and I would not leave! Designed by Jonathan Adler, who is one of our favorite designers, it is a photographer’s dream. People stop by just to take pictures at the Parker—not that that’s the only thing to do. You can play croquet, order cocktails from the outdoor lemonade stand, relax at the amazing PSYC (Palm Springs Yacht Club) spa, have brunch at Norma’s, and dine at Mister Parker’s.

415 S Belardo Rd.

We’ve also stayed at the Viceroy and enjoyed it. Pretty standard with pool, spa, and restaurant/bar. It’s closer to the main drag of town which may be appealing if you don’t want to drive everywhere. It’s also a smaller boutique hotel, meaning less crowds and raucousness.


Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
One Tram Way

The tram is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. Incredible views! At the very top, there’s a café, restaurant, and bar. I would love to go back and do a hike. Apparently, there are miles and miles of hiking trails all around the mountain. The cold weather and breeze at the top of the mountain are a huge contrast to the desert heat.

Palm Springs Visitor Center
2901 North Palm Canyon Drive

The Palm Springs Visitor Center is a former gas station at the bottom of the road that leads to the tram. It’s a historic site noted as an example of modern architecture.

From the Visitor Center, you can see Palm Springs’ iconic windmills. You can see the windmills from many different directions, but the Visitor Center is a good anchor location if you don’t know exactly where to go.

Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway
1350 Ladera Circle

It was closed when we went, but we did a little tour from outside. Super cool. It’s like being transported to the 1960s. I wish we could have gone inside. Next time!

Palm Springs Yacht Club (PSYC)
4200 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs

I love spas! I could spend all day in a steam room turning into a prune. If I had limited time on this earth, I would hightail it to PSYC at the Parker Hotel and tell everyone I knew to meet me there. It’s probably my favorite spa ever! Beautiful indoor pool and every spa amenity you can think of. Put this on your bucket list.


622 N. Palm Canyon Dr.

Exceptional brunch spot. All the classics (chilaquiles, eggs benedict, French toast, bacon flight) done with zeal. I detest waiting, but this place is worth it.

200 W. Ramon Rd.

Melvyn’s is an upscale classic restaurant which defines 1950s Hollywood glamour. Waiters in uniform and tableside cooking!

330 E Amado Rd

This place is one of my faves. The food is great. They call it world cuisine, but it’s really just a smorgasbord of every kind of food you can imagine: sushi, pizza, spring rolls, ribs, shrimp tacos…and it is all so damn good! Great vibe. Fun for small or big gatherings with tables both inside and out.

Kings Highway
701 E. Palm Canyon Dr.

This is the diner attached to the Ace Hotel. The menu is extensive and the food is good, especially for a hotel restaurant with a daytime, evening, and kids menu.

Mister Parker’s
4200 E. Palm Canyon Dr.

Having dinner at Mister Parker’s is an ideal option for checking out the hotel without splurging on accommodations. You can also opt for breakfast or lunch at Norma’s (the daytime restaurant at The Parker), but I think you get more bang for your buck with Mister Parker’s. Food is good too. Food is actually pretty good all over Palm Springs!

The Original Las Casuelas
368 N Palm Canyon Dr.

This is where to go for margaritas and Mexican food.


200 W. Ramon Rd.

If you only have one night in Palm Springs, go to Melvyn’s! Imagine me, Dean, a friend of ours, and Dean’s parents, ordering rounds of drinks, dancing, and howling along with the singer at the piano bar. Music and entertainment every night of the week.

Amigo Room
701 E Palm Canyon Dr.

The bartenders make stiff drinks—not really my style, but this is a fun place to have a cocktail.


Renting a car is ideal, but you can also call for cabs. Does Uber service Palm Springs?!

Throwback Thursday

When we met up in Seattle, Conrado gave me beautiful framed photos that he took during our wedding as a birthday present. He also gave me prints of the pictures below. They’re pictures of me and 6 of my high school friends–who were all in my wedding party as bridesmaids and bridesmen. For my bridal shower in 2010, we spent the weekend in Sonoma, winetasting, cooking meals, and playing silly games until the wee hours of the night. Good times, good times. Makes me so happy.

Guide to Seattle

We just returned from a last minute family trip to Seattle. LOVED IT! Seattle has all the ingredients of a fine city: lots to see and do, excellent food, great neighborhoods. Plus the weather was perfect. Also it was very kid-friendly. I could absolutely see us living there during retirement. It’s on our list! Since we booked the trip last minute, we really just played tourist for a couple days. We didn’t even rent a car which turned out to be just fine. I didn’t even tell anyone I was heading there, especially since we didn’t rent a car and I didn’t want to bother anyone with meeting up and trying to schedule things around Franco’s naps. But thanks to social media and Dean’s relentless status updates, my bestest/dearest friend Conrado (more like a brother than a friend since we grew up a few blocks away from each other) sought me out and met up with us. That was icing on the cake!

Here is my guide to Seattle in 3 days. We covered everything I mentioned below super easily. Totally took our time and didn’t rush at all. And I still felt like we got so much accomplished. Truly great vacation. Pictures from the trip are below the recommendations.


Hyatt House Downtown
201 Fifth Avenue North

If you want to cover as many attractions as possible, I would highly recommend a stay at the Hyatt House which was adjacent to the Space Needle, Seattle Center, and the monorail. Excellent location plus buffet breakfast included.


Pike Place Market 
85 Pike Street

You can’t go to Seattle without visiting Pike Place Market. Go hungry so that you can taste fresh fruit, seafood, and piroshkies. The original Starbucks is at the Market. And you cannot miss Rachel the Pig, the Market mascot and bronze piggy bank with donations supporting the low income community.

Space Needle
500 Broad Street

I wanted to go to SkyCity, the restaurant atop the Space Needle, but the timing didn’t work. We didn’t go up this time, but if you go to Seattle for the first time, the Space Needle is another mandatory stop.

Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison Street

The Chihuly Museum is adjacent to the Space Needle. It’s awesome. The world-renowned artist and Seattleite Dave Chihuly makes these beautiful glass sculptures. This is another must see.

EMP Museum (formerly known as Experience Music Project)
325 5th Avenue N.

Admittedly, I am not the most worldly person when it comes to music, but Dean also thought the museum was a bit boring. We saw exhibits on Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, guitars, and some famous cartoonist. I say pass, but there were so many people we met who said the EMP is a highlight of Seattle.

Artists at Play
305 Harrison Street

The Seattle Center Playground was great for Franco. We could’ve kept this kid occupied all day long just by hanging out in the Seattle Center. In addition to the playground, there’s the Children’s Museum and Pacific Science Center. We didn’t get a chance to go to those places, but like I said, lots of things to do for kids just at the Seattle Center!

Seattle Aquarium
1483 Alaskan Way

I really liked the aquarium: seals, otters, birds that swim and dive, jellyfish, touch pools. I would have enjoyed it more if Franco wasn’t having a meltdown.

Sky View Observatory
701 5th Ave

For the best views of Seattle, you have to go to the Sky View Observatory. Sure it’s one of the top floors of an office building and you feel like you’re an extra in the movie Office Space, but the views are stellar. There are also interesting factoids of Seattle along the office walls.

Olympic Sculpture Park
1483 Alaskan Way

I really enjoyed this. Very zen and peaceful. There aren’t too many sculptures, but it was so nice walking along the path, overlooking the water, and enjoying art. Don’t miss it.

Seattle Public Library – Central Library
1000 4th Ave

Unfortunately the library wasn’t open when we happened to walk by. It is an architectural gem! I read from one of the exhibits at the Sky View Observatory that it was designed to look like a few stacked books, but I couldn’t confirm that from my online research.


Tilikum Place Cafe
407 Cedar St

We were trying to find a place to eat after checking in and happened upon Tilikum. What a find! Everything was plate-licking-clean scrumptious. Dean got the crab benedict. I got the baked eggs house special: creamed corn, cherry tomatoes, smoked mozzarella, and bread crumbs.

Bambino’s Pizzeria
401 Cedar St

This is another restaurant by our hotel (next to Tilikum) that was surprisingly good. Cheese plate and pork belly which was the size of a steak! Delish! Their house red wine was good too. Crazy.

Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar
Queen Anne neighborhood
124 Republican St

Great selection of well-priced oysters, bad selection of wine. Not a single glass of red wine on the menu. So strange! Who cares if red wine doesn’t technically pair with oysters. Sheesh.

Bacco Cafe
Inn at the Market, 86 Pine St

Open from 7am to 3pm daily, this is a great place to eat right in Pike Place Market. Good fresh food, plus they are known for their stellar juices.

Matt’s In the Market
Pike Place Market 94 Pike St #32

This is a top restaurant in Seattle with a view of Pike Place Market. I wasn’t going to leave without eating here! Dean got the caesar salad with dungeness crab. I got the shrimp and dungeness crab melt. Didn’t disappoint.

How to Cook a Wolf
2208 Queen Anne Ave N

Special occasion group dinner! One of Dean’s groomsmen Don organized the dinner. My big request? It better be good, but not fancy. One of my bridesmen Conrado also joined. Great food, great wine, highly recommend. Our only issue is that Franco will not sit still in a high chair, so we all took turns throughout dinner walking the kid around the block. Does anyone else have this problem?!



We got around just fine without renting a car. Spend a day at the Seattle Center and you’ve got the majority of tourist attractions crossed off your list. We took the monorail to shoot us to and from Pike Place Market. Easy!

Pictures of Pike Place Market and Rachel the Pig

Pictures of the Chihuly Museum

Pictures of the Seattle Center playground, Artists at Play

Pictures of the Olympic Sculpture Park

Pictures from the Sky View Observatory

Pictures of the Seattle Central Library and Monorail

How to Be Successful in Online Dating

I love the topic of online dating for a variety of reasons: 1) my blog started out documenting my adventures as a single girl dating in San Francisco, 2) I did online dating off and on for a LONG time, 3) I met my husband on Match.com, and 4) a lot of my friends and readers are still single.

Now that I’ve read comedian Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance cowritten with NYU Sociology Professor Eric Klinenberg and mathematician Hannah Fry’s The Mathematics of Love, I thought I’d share these tips on how to be successful in online dating.

Date a Lot

I’m a firm believer in maximizing your odds. With so many options (Tinder, OkCupid, eHarmony), you might as well take advantage of all that is available to you! That means registering on multiple sites, and continuing to date other people even if you think you’ve found ‘the one.’ I got burned so many times thinking that I’d met my future husband, and next thing you know, I was getting dumped and crying my eyes out for weeks. Don’t let this happen to you. Keep on, keeping on! Dean bristles that it took him 20+ emails before he got to meet me in person. Sorry, buddy! I was dating other guys at the time. And hey, persistence paid off for Dean.

Emphasize Your Unfair Competitive Advantage

Short, bald, fat? Play it up! In her research, Hannah Fry discovered that the majority of online users stay away from the typical beauties. Why? Because the average person does not think they stand a chance contacting Bradley Cooper or Miranda Kerr. Further, why would anyone waste their time contacting a supermodel when the competition is high? Wouldn’t you rather focus your energy on a profile where you may get a response? That means contacting someone who is attractive to you, but you think may not be so interesting to others. This is why it’s important when you craft your profile to not hide what you think may be unattractive. That 6th finger? Emphasize it!

Hannah gives the example of Portia de Rossi and Sarah Jessica Parker. Who do you think would do better in online dating?

Credit: http://sarahjessicaparkerlookslikeahorse.com/

Stop Filtering So Damn Much

We think we know what we want, but it turns out that we absolutely don’t. We want someone who is this certain height, this certain age, but all of that goes out the window when you actually meet someone in person. Research shows that the characteristics we think are important to us, do not align with what we’re actually attracted to. This all means that we should stop filtering and just go out and meet people!

Try to Remain Invested

Aziz gives the example of his dad who was given 3 options for an arranged marriage. He met all 3. One was too tall, another too short, and one who was just right. That was it! Height was all he based his decision on and they’ve been happily married for a lifetime! This goes to show that falling in love with someone and maintaining that loving relationship takes time, deep interactions, and sustained activity.