Christmas Day in Joshua Tree

I recently purchased a new camera, the Sony A7III, and I’ve been trying to take photos all day everyday. While in Japan, I purchased the new Sony 24mm 1.4 G Master lens, and have been loving it ever since. On IG, I see a lot of people taking awesome landscape photos at the national parks, and I realized I’ve never been to Joshua Tree.

Every year I spend Christmas Day at my grandparents house in Menifee, CA. I figured since I was up there, and had the time off, we’d take the extra hour-ish drive and have a little desert getaway. I got my girlfriend and I a last minute Airbnb, and it was super hip. It was freezing and windy during our stay, but we made the best of it and had an amazing time.

The Airbnb after sunset

Outside the bedroom/trailer

Her making breakfast in our little kitchen

My favorite shot with the 24mm 1.4 in Joshua Tree National Park


We had the best time in Japan! Here is part 1 of the Japan Travel Vlog series. Stay tuned for the rest of the trip!

Best Ramen in San Diego

Ramen has always been one of my comfort foods, and I wanted to find the very best in San Diego! I’ve had a lot of good ramen here, but to refresh my memory, I’m going to start fresh and review them one bowl at a time 🙂

1) Nishiki Ramen

8055 Armour St, Ste 201A, San Diego, CA 92111

I have yet to try ramen in Japan, but I’m traveling to Tokyo this month and really looking forward to it! In the meantime, Nishiki has my favorite bowl of ramen in San Diego. One reason I love this place is the layer of fat from their broth and chashu (fatty pork slices) at the top of your soup. It’s not overwhelmingly fatty or anything, just super savory, flavorful, and delicious! Then they hand make their noodles in shop, on display. It’s such a cool process, and their noodles are great.

Smoke Bomb Black – if you love garlic, or just ramen that looks super cool, this bowl is amazing!

Nishiki – this is their classic tonkotsu ramen. I love comparing tonkotsu ramen across different places as a baseline, and this one is delicious. Creamy, savory, and perfect when you’re looking for that comfort food type of soup. 

Akuma – I finished every drop of soup! It’s that good. If you like a little spice, this is a must order. You’ll love it!

2) Tajima

4411 Mercury St, San Diego, CA 92111

This was a close first for me, but they have a spicy sesame ramen that is amazing. I first had this ramen here in San Diego after I returned from a Japan trip. The flavor was so rich and bold, and reminded me of some of the flavors I tasted when I was abroad. In Japan, I was having some kind of peanut flavored ramen with minced pork… then after having the spicy sesame here, the flavor I thought was peanut was sesame!

Why I picked Gatsby.js

For over a year now, I’ve been been working with React nearly every day. Both at work and for my personal projects. It has taken the frontend development world by storm, and I surely wasn’t going to get left behind. Every UI project I’ve worked on as of late has been in React, along with rewriting my personal website and serving it from S3.

I’ve been traveling a lot lately, with intentions to do the whole “vlog” thing. Editing video content takes so much time, and I realized I was taking all this footage and producing no content. I decided blogging would be an easier route, and it was time for me to make a WordPress. Everybody and their mama has a blog or website built on WordPress. It’s open source, has a ton of support, and has a pretty solid CMS. As a modern full-stack Javascript developer, I didn’t want to be working in PHP anymore. Then I discovered GatsbyJS.

GatsbyJS is a blazing fast static site generator for React. I almost skipped over this because ‘static site’ didn’t really resonate with me. My React app on S3 was static, but requires Javascript to render, and makes it a terrible option for blogging and SEO. What kept me interested were all the buzzwords though: React, GraphQL, WebPack, blazing fast… it seemed worth while to continue reading.

Minutes later, I realized this is exactly what I was looking for. It has a slick GraphQL data layer that makes consuming data from anywhere super easy.

The great part is that all of the files are server rendered, and the page content is available to Google, and other search engine crawlers. Render times are crazy fast, and I love the idea of progressive rendering: if it doesn’t need to be done immediately, defer it.

Once you add GIT for version control, and Netlify for continuous deployment, you have a really slick deployment process that feels enterprise worthy. What’s cool about Netlify is that they serve your static files behind their CDN for free. Their free tier is insanely generous, and I have yet to out grow it. I still decided to go the WordPress route since I already had an instance up for other projects. There are a ton of headless CMS options, but Gatsby has a lot of support around their WordPress source plugin.

Now that my blogging infrastructure is all set up (that was the easy part), now I just need to start writing some blog post.