Travel

Vintage Shopping in Paris

March 13, 2017

I recently put together a list of my favourite vintage shops in Paris for a friend, and figured it could make a useful blog post for anyone else looking to find some sweet second hand threads in gay Paree. Being on the border of Montmartre and Pigalle means I am spoilt for choice when it comes to cool and quality options.

There’s something so much more romantic and inspiring about vintage finds, whether clothing or interiors or records. Evoking another time or place. Another version of you. Perhaps a past or parallel life.

Here are my 5 favourite neighbourhood spots:

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Chine Machine

100 Rue des Martyrs, 75018

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Troc en Stock

6 Rue Clauzel, 75009

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Mamie Blue

69 Rue de Rochechouart, 75009

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Chezel

59 Rue Condorcet, 75009

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Celia Darling

5 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009

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San Francisco July 2016

March 6, 2017

I tend to always bookend any trips to California with quality time in San Francisco, and the last time I visited the States was no exception. Back in July I was lucky enough to enjoy just over a week in the Bay before flying home to London, getting to see my family and friends and explore the city, as well as hustle a little…

I’ve written before about my love of Amtrak; the beatnik side of me just adores the opportunity for reflection and observation. There’s something remarkably soothing about the trip up to SF from LA, full of epic views and curious characters.

*Roadside Views*

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*Champagne on the Train. Amtrak in style*

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One of the biggest highlights of my last days in SF was getting to meet local legend Dan the Automator and interview him for Wax Poetics at the top of Dolores Park. It was my first time meeting Dan, and such an honour. My buddy Z came through with some very impressive recording equipment, and shooting by the Park’s ‘Gay Beach’ corner allowed an epic panorama of San Francisco as our backdrop. The wind was definitely working against us, which with my mane was a challenge for sure! But, it was so cool to hear Dan’s stories and insights, and I’m super happy with how the final video came out – shout out to the homie DJ Matman for the dope edit! After the shoot we got pizza and drinks at local favourite Pizzeria Delfina – so delicious and definitely worth a visit.

*Behind the scenes*

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Watch the interview below!

*Me and Dan*

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*The iconic and inspiring Women’s Building in the Mission*

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*My cousin’s very cute birthday cake*

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*Prince Paul spinning 45s at The Uptown in Oakland*

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Another highlight of my final sojourn in SF was catching Hieroglyphics play Stern Grove. Dan the Automator was DJing before, and managed to sneak me backstage so that I was able to hang with him and Hiero there. I enjoyed drinking copious amounts of high-grade sake, riding around on milk-float-esque carts, and meeting Del the Funkee Homosapien and Davey D for the first time.  Afterwards we got ice-cream and hit a dive bar for a pool tournament in the Sunset District. Very cool memories.

*Beautiful NorCal trees at Stern Grove. Such a cool hidden spot I had never been to before.*

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I couldn’t wait to hit up the newly reopened SFMoMA, I always love to spend a few hours there when in town. Such a treat. The Miranda July & Harrell Fletcher Learning to Love You More room was my favourite part this time.

*Reflections at the MoMA*

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*Embarcadero at night on 4th July*

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*Leaving Cali Bluez. Nothing quite like rounding off a long trip by gazing out at the runway, sipping on a glass of wine and reflecting on the time gone by.*

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*Living life in the window seat. Always.*

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Los Angeles June 2016

February 26, 2017

After visiting NYC in June last year, I bopped back to the West Coast and enjoyed a couple of weeks hustling and catching up with friends in LA. Here are some photos from that time .. Enjoy!

*After staying at Shutters on the Beach back in 2014, having lunch with Michael Sheehy there has become somewhat of a tradition.*

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*I just love it out by Santa Monica and Venice. Whenever the skies are grey I think of Neil Young’s classic On The Beach.*

*I stayed for a week up in the Hollywood Hills and got to enjoy this glorious view each morning*

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*Breakfast on the deck*

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*Hanging out at Christian Audigier’s dreamy ranch in Topanga*

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*Delicious Vinyl HQ on Sunset Boulevard*

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*Me & J-Lockett*

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*Me & Fat-Leezy*

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Moving to Paris

January 14, 2017

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I’ve long been a bit of a gypsy, and on August 30th, 2016, I followed my little life-long dream of moving to Paris for one year. I’m now four months in and feeling just about settled. After staying in a string of Airbnb spots and sublets, I moved into my own dreamy studio in Montmartre at the start of November.

So far it’s been a lot of fun to explore, discovering dope record spots like Tago Mago (where I was introduced to Silver Apples!!!) and Superfly Records (where I picked up Tropical Gangsters on vinyl for €5!), finding my favourite local bakery Pain Pain (the best almond croissants) and favourite bistro Buvette (the best chocolate mousse), and I’ve hazy happy memories of bars like Le Sans Souci and L’Embuscade (killer cocktails at both).

Moving to a new city has been lonely too at times for sure, but I’m very lucky to have connected with and befriended some very cool souls over here. I’m very excited for this new year and am going to round off this little post on my top feel-good track right now: Prefab Sprout’s “The King of Rock ’N’ Roll’ … Enjoy!

New York 2016

September 4, 2016

Back in June I was lucky enough to spend a week exploring and hustling in New York. I stayed with my wonderful friend Heather in her beautiful apartment in the West Village and had a rather magical time. How can you not fall in love with NYC?

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I flew to New York from Los Angeles with a connection at Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina. It’s funny to think of all the places we go through but never really go to. It makes me think of those times in life, periods of transition where the focus is on the future rather than the present. Just passing through.

That said, I do love killing time in airports. It’s like a carte blanche to pause, reflect and window-gaze. Plus I’ve made some of my best friends through chance airport encounters (Lauren and Jesse I’m looking at you ;) ).

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 ~Runway reverie~

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~Red Eye View~

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~Greeted on arrival with champagne and a long-overdue catch-up~

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~The street I stayed on, the prettiest part of town~

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~West Village Selfies~

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~The Highline~

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An absolute highlight of my trip was getting to chill with Prince Paul and chop it up for Wax Poetics! We filmed a little interview on somebody’s stoop in Greenwich Village, and in keeping with tradition grabbed pizza afterwards on Bleecker Street :)

~Outtakes~

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 ~Wax Po Interview~

~Cymande playing Summer Stage in Central Park!~

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~I’ll never forget hearing “Willy’s Headache” live <3~

~Washington Square Park~

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One day I made it out to Brooklyn to visit the homie Andre Torres at the Genius HQ in Gowanus, and while over in BK hit up The Wythe Hotel to enjoy that famous view across to Manhattan…

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~No-no-no-Notorious!~

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~First time at The Lincoln Center seeing Swan Lake~

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~Soaking up some sun by the SoHo House pool on my last day~

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~Flying JFK 2 LAX a la Gang Starr~

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Time Waits For No One

July 2, 2016

‘Time waits for no one’ sang the Rolling Stones. And it won’t wait for me.

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Time often passes by much more quickly than one would like it to, especially during those times when we would like it to stretch out and last forever like the long summer holidays you have as a kid. My recent weeks in Los Angeles have somewhat flown by, though, there is plenty to reflect on and be grateful for. Here are just a selection of photos and memories …

~Taking classes at Studio 4~

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~For memorial day I headed out to Malibu with my friends Denisse, Nanna, and Rick, which was all giggles and hot tubs, long drives and pier lights at night. I just love being by the ocean and driving through the stunning Santa Monica mountains; it is so exceptionally beautiful out there.~

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~Santa Monica Pier~

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~Palm trees in Franklin Village~

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~Poolside in Hollywood~

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~Me on the Mama Shelter rooftop, photographed by the homie Mekael Dawson~

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Anyhow, I’m working on trying to enjoy my time and worry less about the speed at which it passes …

 

 

LA Daze

May 29, 2016

Palm trees in the wind and pizza by the slice. Catching up with old friends under cloudy skies. Writing by blue swimming pools and pink sunsets behind the hills of Hollywood. Oh Los Angeles, since getting to you earlier this month, time has been flying by too fast.  I’m feeling very lucky to be spending time with some of my favourite people out here, because conversing and laughing with like-minded souls is the best.

~Stunning views from The Getty~

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Music-wise, I’ve been listening to my very talented friends Nanna B and Jansport J, as well as a little Neil Young :)

I’ve loved helping out at some Delicious Vinyl events while in town, including the WAX record fair at Capitol Records and Boom Yard LA at Delicious Pizza.

~Me selling merch at Boom Yard LA @ Delicious Pizza~

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 ~Capitol Records~

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~Limited Edition Ol’ Dirty Bastard Vinyl~

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A couple of weeks ago I enrolled at Studio4 LA, James Franco’s film and acting school here, so have been taking some classes over in North Hollywood. I also attended a really awesome ‘Intuitive Actor’ workshop at SoHo with Todd Savvas at SoHo House, and have been dabbling in a real mix of yoga classes out here. After meeting the gorgeous Millana Snow in West Hollywood, I attended a poolside yoga class with Serene Social at the Standard Hotel on Sunset. A friend also introduced me to Black Market Yoga in Hollywood (where you can flow to Tom Waits!), and most recently I’ve been hitting up the Y7 Studio on Melrose for their hip-hop scored vinyasa classes.

~Chillin’ by the pool post-yoga~

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~Santa Monica Sunset~

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So California

May 11, 2016

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So last week I left my love San Francisco and came down to Los Angles. I took Amtrak because I really do love the time and space that long-ass train journeys provide. On the course of the trip I met a couple of characters who felt like something out of a Keroauc story. One in particular still stands out. His tanned skin was weathered like dirty leather, and he had one brown and one baby blue eye. He asked me if it was my first time on Amtrak (it wasn’t) and where I was going. He said he was going to New Orleans, and when I asked how long he had been in San Francisco, he replied “I got here today.”  Why would you get to San Francisco and immediately leave? He said he lived in San Francisco, but I didn’t believe him. His world seemed like a completely different one to mine, one that was fluid like oil and for some reason it seemed dark. In writing this out I realise it could completely just be my own romantic projections. Maybe he was having a bad day and there was a not so urgent emergency in New Orleans. Either way, he was a little odd and I didn’t choose to continue the conversation much further, but it made me think of how vastly different all of our paths are. I really think an awareness of the myriad routes and experiences there are in life is beneficial; at once you can appreciate your world and see how small it is.

~Views from the San Joaquin~

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~Difficult to capture the peace and serenity~

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The night I got to LA, my homegirl Denisse – aka Girl Is Tough – had a show at La Cita Bar downtown. I pretty much dropped off my bag and headed straight to see her perform. Her voice is so beautiful and I can’t recommend checking out her music enough.

 

~Girl Is Tough in her element~

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After the show we got late night tacos and horchata :)

I’m staying in the super cute neighbourhood Franklin Village, which has several neat spots to check out, including the Bourjeois Pig and the Oaks Gourmet. And I’ve been getting my yoga fix at Yogaworks in Hollywood on Vine – super chill and yummy free tea.

~My new hood~

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~The pool~

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Last Thursday was ‘Cinco de Mayo’, which I’ve honestly never heard of before, but I had a nice time catching up and drinking margaritas with my buddy LA Jay at Antonios on Melrose, before hitting up a party at the old Delicious Vinyl Shop spot on Sunset. I heard a song by Bia called “Gucci Comin’ Home” which I’ve been listening to on repeat since …

~Antonios~

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~My homie blew up all these balloons :) ~

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~Jansport J on the decks~

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At the weekend I finally got to check out Delicious Pizza in West Adams! I remember visiting the space back in 2013 before anything got set up, so it was really neat to come back and see everything in business. I had a ‘Soulflower’ pizza (dig the Pharcyde reference??) which was delicious, and some funky cold sangria (Tone Loc).

~Delicious Pizza~

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~Hip-hop memorabilia~

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 ~Delicious Vinyl Radio~

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I rounded off the weekend with a delicious brunch and catch up with my girl Teru at SoHo House in West Hollywood. One of the marks of a great friendship is being able to just pick up where you left off, even after a long period of not seeing each other. Which, over wine and cheese, we did :)

It’s been super cloudy in LA since I got to town so I’m hoping the sun breaks through soon ..

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Sailing On

May 6, 2016

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At the start of last week I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favourite human beings and probably one of the most influential musicians of all time. George Clinton, the inimitable force behind the P-Funk juggernaut and a bonafide hero to many. Clinton is a dream to chat to, and I can’t wait to share our conversation with my write up real soon.

Since our interview I’ve been listening to a nice little mix of Smokey Robinson, Kendrick Lamar, Sly Stone, and Parliament (of course…).

I’ve also been listening to Deru’s “1979: Remixed” and a sweet little mix City Pop Vol. 2 that dropped on Wax Poetics:

~Ridiculous car in the Marina~

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I hit up Laughing Lotus Yoga on 16th St last Thursday and would definitely recommend going – the pranayama and sweet tea felt hella good :)  One of my favourite thrift stores in the city is Crossroads Trading by Church & Market, and on this trip I managed to pick up a vintage Missoni dress (pictured below) and some vintage Marni wedges for a song. There is also a cute cafe super close by called Church Street Cafe which I often stop at to write, and recommend if in the area.

~Bathroom selfie on Saturday night~

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On Saturday I hopped around a few parties with friends and got to see a really neat hotel called The Phoenix . It reminded me of the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs with it’s super retro US motel vibe.

~The Phoenix pool~

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I also got to visit a pretty dope house nicknamed ‘The Starship’ which was used as a location for HBO’s Silicon Valley.

~View from The Starship’s roof terrace~

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On Sunday I got to go out sailing around Marin which was super beautiful and a lot of fun. The waters were royal blue and the local wine flowed. We stopped off at Tiburon and Angel Island, before heading to a spot called Fish in Sausalito for dinner (luckily they serve salad ;) ). I just love how the fog envelops the land like something from science fiction when it rolls in at dusk.

~View from the water back to San Francisco~

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~Angel Island~

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 ~Party on a boat~

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~Sausalito~

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 ~Fog coming for Sausalito~

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As we sailed back to San Francisco through the dusky purple fog, fittingly listening to lots of vintage Prince, I found myself very nostalgic thinking about the first time I visited California with my family. I was 16 and remember taking the ferry to Sausalito one day, eating ice-cream by the water and being so excited about it all. I thought about all that had happened in my life since (a decade sounds rather epic, doesn’t it?) and how most of it I would have never predicted back then. It’s a funny feeling, a sort of culmination of energies and emotions, at once appreciative of it all though somehow there’s a sadness to it. To feel happy and sad at the same time, and that life is short but long too in many ways. It is quite amazing how all these feelings exist simultaneously. There are so many facets within us to experience that it is really rather staggering to contemplate.

~Embarcadero~

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~The Ferry Building. Time waits for no man~

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Having Big Fun

April 26, 2016

Propelled by the energies of joy, it is no secret that time takes flight when you are having fun. I love spending time here in California, and, it feels like the past week has somewhat flown by …

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A lot of dope music has come through my inbox just recently, so I’ve had a mix of Black Milk, Saba, The Lytics, Brassfoot, and Funkineven on rotation. Take a listen!

1) Saba “World in my Hands (ft. Amino & LEGIT)”

2) Black Milk & Nat Turner “Never”

3) Brassfoot “Dreamstate Intercal”

4) Funkineven “SSS (90s cut)”

5) The Lytics “Ring My Alarm”

As always, I’ve been spending a solid amount of time in cafes writing. Right now I would recommend The Blue Fig on Valencia for classic, chill coffee-house vibes, and Stanza Coffee on 16th for a trendy vibe and yummy coffee. Both have nice outdoor seating, as does my go-to veggie spot Herbivore on Valencia which also deserves a shout out!

~Coffee love in The Mission~

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I caught up with a friend for dinner last Tuesday and saw a sneak preview of the book So Much to Be Done, which is a collection of the writings of Barbara Brenner. Barbara was an incredible activist I had the honour of working with in the summers of 2009 and 2010 when I interned for the non-profit organisation Breast Cancer Action. Undoubtedly she was one of the most intelligent, straight-talking, and warm-hearted individuals I have ever known. After having breast cancer herself (twice), she was diagnosed with ALS in 2010 and passed away in 2013. I think it is fantastic that her writing is being published in a collection like this, and I look forward to reading it properly. You can learn more about Barbara here and check out the book here .

On Wednesday I hopped over to the East Bay to visit Berkeley University. The campus is so stunning and whenever I’ve been the vibe has always felt so good. The last time I was out there was 2011, when I was working on my undergraduate thesis. I visited the Bancroft archives to find some of Sarah Webster Fabio’s work (a really inspiring poet and activist I recommend getting hip to), and remember imagining how rad it must be to study there. Here are some pictures …

~Berkeley Campus~

IMG_6272~Beautiful Berkeley trees~

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~Me posing on campus~

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~Gold shoes in the grass~

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~More magical Berkeley trees~

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And for the first time ever I ventured down to San Jose in the South Bay for a little party with some buddies. I was super excited for the little adventure, mostly because of my love of the Dionne Warwick song “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” (written by my hero Burt Bacharach). I remember dancing around to that song as a kid, probably never imagining that one day I too would have some friends down in San Jose.

 ~San Jose Station~

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~A backyard worthy of DJ Khaled~

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We headed back up to the city the next day to hang out at The Battery, and ended up at an incredible studio spot in SoMA. I really wish I had taken pictures, because the set up was pretty spectacular. Next time hey ;)

For now all I have is this accidental post-brunch-bliss selfie …

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