Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Happy 5th Year Anniversary, Garden Gallivanter!!!!!

Fall Sidewalk in Chicago, IL. 

Greetings from Chicago, Illinois. 
I've been back stateside for almost two weeks now, and it's been a whirlwind of excitement and joy! Since being back I've visited my loving family and my home yoga studio, Yoga Cove. To reconnect with these phenomenal people here in California, is essentially, why I come back. Now, I am in the grand city of Chicago, visiting my amazing brother Kevin and his boyfriend Steven. They have shown me, like always, such hospitality in their adorable apartment here in Lakeview, a young and hip neighborhood. I've been exploring the city, the coffee shops, taking the bus to this local wonderful yoga studio, thoroughly enjoying the city conveniences, like high-speed internet! I feel like a kid who hasn't been in a candy store for many years and finally, here I am, and filling my mouth with as many gumballs as I can fit!

Yesterday, my brother Kevin and I got to spend the day together. We hadn't seen each other since last April when he and my mother went to Vietnam and Thailand. He had been working last week when I had arrived, and so, yesterday and today, we get to spend some time together.

Steven and Kevin <333.

Dried Hydrangeas I picked on my walk to Kev and Steven's.

My brother Kevin, aka Merv. 
My brother Kevin is the most creative, witty, compassionate and courageous person you'd be so lucky to meet. I am fortunate to call him my brother. And since those days of playing "Beats the Neats" (what we called our Barbies) and Xena the Warrior Princess outside, hockey sticks turned upside down as our horses gallivanting through the woods of our backyard, I'm happy to say that we still have a golden time together, though now at coffee shops over espresso and cappuccinos or between racks of vintage clothing on the hunt for treasures at local thrift shops.

Merv, whom I call my brother Kevin, is a nickname I made up when we were little. It was random, probably with some influence from his love for fashion at a young age, but basically, it's the name of the department store "Mervyn's California". It's not as if this store has "fashionable" clothing necessarily, nor that we shopped there, but for some reason, driving past it one day, I started calling my brother "Merv," and it's just stuck ever since. It's funny when people ask what the story behind the nickname is, and it's really nothing special, but still a true story, and still what I call my brother.

My brother has always been there for me, through thick and thin, in every sense of that saying. I don't know where I'd be without him, really. It's not to sound mushy or anything like that; it's just true facts. He has that kind of love that is unconditional; the one that knows no bounds, fully present and non judgemental, timeless. And, on top of that, he has impeccable fashion sense and an artful eye. He's my art museum partner who will roam around with me for 4 hours at the Art Institute of Chicago through: Japanese, Indian, Islamic, Greek/Roman, South American, African, French Impressionist, European, Rodin Special Exhibit, Modern Art, Architecture, and still not have enough!

Looking at Quilts, a way of documenting history. 

Beautiful Georgia O'Keeffe. 

Kev and I at the Art Institute of Chicago. 

We went to Shangri-La yesterday, a family-owned and quaint vintage store. We hit the jackpot with our finds! Kev found this beautiful snake necklace choker, and I this gorgeous poncho, among some other small trinkets. He was the one who actually eyed this poncho, which fits me perfectly!! It's just the perfect length and so colorful, yet elegant at the same time.

Kev eyed this gorgeous poncho at Shangri-La Vintage.

Cleopatra would be jealous, I think?

Topping the day off with a Cosmopolitan.

And, to top off our day, we went to visit his work at Chanel! It was on the corner of Michigan Ave. and Oak St. It was like stepping into an art museum of clothes, each piece elegant and classic. I enjoyed meeting his co-workers who were so kind and excited to meet me! I love that they care for my brother, and I could feel their genuine appreciation for him.

We ended the day at the 96th top floor of the John Hancock Building, at the Signature Lounge with most spectacular views of the city, for drinks. The lights glimmered and twinkled like stars in the sky. The immensity was breathtaking. Of course nothing compares to the night sky of Villetale Haute, and of course these past few days of joy in Chicago would have been more joyous with mon amour Jorris, mais c'est la vie.  Jorris is working on some projects back in Villetale in preparation for next season, but Kev and I did get to skype with him for a little where he got to see the store front of Channel and pictures from the "photo shoot," as well as my poncho; so life is still good.

Fun "photo shoot" @Chanel, styled my Kevin Ma. 

My birthday is Sunday. I'll be 29! I'll be off to Lufkin, Texas on that day, to hang out at my Dad's new apartment. It'll be sweet to spend my birthday with my Dad. And I'll get to spend time with him during Thanksgiving here in Chicago, too. He flies in on Thursday! We're all excited to spend time together. I am so grateful for having another birthday to celebrate, my personal spin around the Sun and all of the beauty I have had the privilege of experiencing this year, along with all the transformational and transcendental discoveries that come with age. Until then, Happy 5th Year Anniversary today to my blog, my baby, Garden Gallivanter, who has been there to reflect and share my memories with all these years.

*photos by Tiffanie and Kevin Ma


  1. Dearest Tiff, you rock that poncho, being Kevin's sister, Chanel, the poncho, blogwriting and...did I mention the poncho? Btw, you were born on my parents wedding anniversary and your blog was born on mine. Cheers to all!!

  2. Hey Auntie Valerie!! Haha...awwww! Thank you for your enthusiasm for everything, especially the poncho! What?! Really? So cool how those dates match up! Well, cheers to all indeed!! Thank you for reading my blog!