#clowclanstaycation

29 Aug

Earlier this week I spent two nights in Hermosa Beach with my family for a little “staycation” action.  My brother recently started working at a music venue in Hermosa (Saint Rocke) as a Digital Marketing Assistant, and he also hosts their Open Mic Nights on Tuesdays.  My parents wanted to see him in action, but making the trek home to the Conejo Valley didn’t sound too appealing to them, so my mom booked an awesome beach house via VRBO for all of us for two nights.

Our #clowclanstaycation began on Monday.  While my brother was at work, my parents and I had an early dinner at the Hook & Plow on Pier Ave.

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I enjoyed this Atticus IPA from the local Strand Brewing Co. (Torrance, CA).  For my dinner, I had a delicious salad made with arugula, buratta cheese, a peach, and organic chicken. Yum!

After dinner, we headed to Saint Rocke’s trivia night.  My brother was too cool to play on our team, so my parents and I tried to be contenders.  We named our team Santos L. Halper (because #EverySimpsonsEver).  We started out pretty well and then TANKED.  There was an entire round on movies about magic where we got zero right.  I’m not the biggest movie fan (they’re SUCH a commitment and most movies suck) so I’m okay that we didn’t get those right.

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Proud of my Dad for getting a bonus question right (you have to not only know the answer but be the fastest team to tell the guy the right answer). The question was: “What is the name of the song that begins ‘Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.'” Answer: “The Christmas Song.”  My Dad knew it right away (I knew it, but it would have taken me a second).  Glad I was raised on Mel Torme!

A question I am embarrassed I didn’t know: What is the most popular wine varietal in Australia and what is the same grape called in France? Answer: Shiraz/Syrah.  #notawineo.

The next day, my parents and I spent a lot of time walking around Hermosa — we walked to the Manhattan Beach pier and just spent some time enjoying the strand and the pier. We also had a delicious and inexpensive lunch at The Standing Room. Loved my $7 kale + candied bacon salad!

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That night, we spent a couple of hours enjoying Saint Rocke’s surprisingly delicious $1 tacos and $5 margaritas, and watching my brother channel his inner Carson Daly during Open Mic Night. There were some good acts! 10603558_10103422063324473_4671654060378486421_nOn Wednesday morning, my mom and I took a couple of bikes (included in our vacation rental!) out for a bit.  We rode just a few miles to the Redondo Beach pier and back, but I was glad to add another thing to my “do something fun every day before I start work” list.

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Where is your favorite place to #staycation?

Do you have any vacation traditions? 

 

booze + sweat (aka what i did when i wasn’t studying).

13 Aug

I know you’re all sick of hearing about the bar — I’m sick of talking about it — but I WAS able to squeeze in (very small) pockets of fun throughout the summer.

The weekend after the test, I met up with my parents for a mini Conejo Valley IPA crawl of sorts.  Our first stop was The Lab Brewing Co.  I enjoyed their house DIPA and we all shared some candied bacon.

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We headed to dinner at my very favorite place just down the street — Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie — for brews, chow, and to watch the sunset (my mom is also a sucker for a good one).

They didn’t have my fav beer of all time on tap (Cheseboro IPA) so I opted for my second favorite, the aptly titled Ladyface IPA. I also tried a sampler of a new IPA they offered – the Cataclysm IPA.  This one wasn’t my style, it wasn’t hoppy at all.

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Ladyface IPA with Ladyface Mountain in the background.

Notice how the mountain looks like a woman’s profile? Imagine the woman is lying on her back…

And then my dad caught me in the act…

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Also that weekend, I celebrated with my BFF Whitney at a bar down the street from her apartment called The Chestnut Club.  Would definitely recommend.

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When I haven’t been boozing, I was doing what I normally do (working out, obviously).  On July 20th, I ran the Griffith Park Trail Marathon Relay with a team formed last-minute with some social media friends. When Tiffany reached out to me via twitter, there was no way I could say no, and I’m so glad I didn’t!  We had a blast each running 5.25 miles through the super-hilly Griffith Park trails, and soaking up the morning.  I would definitely do this race again.

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On the team:

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Race bling in the form of a STICK!!!!

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so worried I was gonna drop my phone…

It was a great morning.  I love doing relays because I love being surrounded by “my people” — meaning people who “get it.”  These guys understand the compulsion to wake up super early on a Sunday to go run 5+ miles through hilly terrain with people you barely know.  I am also so grateful for the power of social media connections for making this team come together!

The week before the bar, I heard about an event taking place at my favorite building on the planet – the Ritz Carlton/J.W. Marriott in DTLA. I dropped everything and RAN when Whitney wrote about a free yoga/mini-spa treatments event taking place at the Ritz spa. I got a hand massage and headed up to the rooftop for a short and very relaxing yoga session.

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#swoon

That about rounds out the fun things I did during the bar (I told you, it wasn’t a ton).  I start my job in a few weeks and until then have a lot of downtime, so I’m trying to enjoy the relaxed schedule and do some fun LA-only events. Please drop a comment if you have suggestions on fun things I should do!

post-bar thoughts

12 Aug

Ok so the bar exam is done.  I won’t get results until November, so there’s no point in stewing over it.  That said, I wanted to share my experience just in case a future examinee stumbles upon this post.

I took the exam at the Century Plaza Hotel location in Century City.  I opted not to stay at the hotel and just drove to and from the test each of the three days, to save money and to get to sleep in my own bed, eat my own food, and remove myself from all of the really intense crazy people. This was THE BEST decision.  It minimized stress (except there was bad traffic coming home each day).  I would 100% recommend not staying in the hotel if you live close enough.

My friends and I all met up in the morning and at the lunch break by the pool each day, and we packed lunches so we didn’t have to stray too far to make sure we were fed.  I was also surprised by how relaxed the proctors were (more or less). I was lucky that I didn’t have any hiccups with my plan (didn’t forget my laptop or the charger on any of the days and my car didn’t break down!)

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During bar studying, I was ALL ABOUT routine.  I woke up at 5 every day, worked out, headed to school by 8, studied until 4 or 5, came home and either took the rest of the night off or sometimes took a break (possibly to work out again) and then did some more studying in the later evening.

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Oprah quotes + caffeine were pretty clutch.

I also made law jokes whenever possible…

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I am so grateful for my family and friends for supporting me while they could literally watch me go crazy…

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…and my gym people for being around to talk to me about something other than the bar.

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Finally, I met some fellow examinees via Twitter (through the hashtag #barpreplife as well as the handle @barpreplife ).  It was so nice to commiserate with people (even though they were strangers) and it was a nice reminder that we were all in it together.

How do you handle stress? 

turks and caicos #bartrip.

11 Aug

Hi everyone!  So about two weeks ago I was preparing to take the bar exam, and a week ago I left for 5 nights in the Caribbean (specifically on the island of Turks and Caicos).  I went with one of my law school friends, Aviva, and we had a great time!

We stayed at the Club Med there, known as Turkoise.  I wanted an easy vacation that required little thought and allowed lots of time for relaxation, sun, and outdoor activities, and Club Med delivered.  I wasn’t wild about some of the cruise-ship type activities (aqua jogging? choreographed dancing? third-rate (at best) “shows”? No thanks)  But I did love the wide array of activities to choose from, the gorgeous turquoise waters, live music, an endless open bar, the fact it was adults only so there were no loud parents screaming at their kids (I love kids, parents are usually the ones who are annoying), and all of the fun, talkative people I met.

Here are some highlights:

Stand-up Paddleboarding!

10599138_10152214129796456_5074804215555824643_nI could not get enough of this.  I love SUP-ing in LA but don’t do it enough.  I got out four different times during my vacation.

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Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 9.04.46 AMI didn’t take a sailing lesson while I was there (next time) but I did go sailing with someone who knew what they were doing.  I used to sail when I was younger (woo-hoo sailing camp when I was like 12), but it was great being out there!

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FINALLY reading for pleasure:

I crushed The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in about two days and it is without a doubt one of my favorite books, ever.  It is an amazing blend of science, medical ethics issues, and law.  This non-fiction book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cancerous cells were taken without her knowledge in the 1950s and became the first “immortal” line of cells, proving to be valuable for subsequent medical research for decades. Fascinating.

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Before I left, one of my Dad’s friends who I don’t even know mailed me a book for my trip — incredibly sweet and surprising.  He knows I am an avid runner (and Nike fan) so he sent me a biography on Bill Bowerman – famed University of Oregon track and XC coach (Steve Prefontaine, duh) and the brain behind Nike.  I’m about half-way through it now and am loving it.

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Running

The resort had a running group every M/W/F head out for a 5k and I joined them twice.  It was hot and humid, but I loved running with some new people and we kept a nice pace.  I met a sweet Dad and son duo from SF and a guy from Germany who asked if running was my “full time job.” Hah.

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Even though the runs were SHORT, the humidity really got to me and it made breathing pretty difficult! 10501787_10103354850988533_7433380317236588020_nSnorkeling

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We took a boat out to a reef and spent about 40 minutes taking in all of the gorgeous fish.  I loved the Princess Parrotfish I spotted.

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Sunsets 

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I loved spending the evening hours at the local bar – weirdly named “the Sharkies” to hear some live music and to watch the sunset.

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This was also a great time to meet other members at the resort.  During this time, Aviva and I became friends with the resort’s lifeguard, the resident DJ who HOOKED ME UP on the last night and played an hour straight of hip hop, two guys from Montreal who are also Dodger fans, and an older guy from my hometown who had on a cap with my running store’s logo on it, and many others.

This was one of my favorite parts of the trip — I liked that everyone at Club Med was social — it felt like a higher-end hostel, and I LOVED the hostel vibe when I studied abroad in Spain and again when I lived there again after college.

“Raging”

There was a party every night at the resort which was great.  Aviva and I had the most fun at the Pirate-themed one (randomly packed a skull-print dress #winning) and the party on the last night was fun too.  We met a super nice guy (kid?) who was NINETEEN and  I have literally never felt older.

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We also enjoyed lounging poolside and by the ocean (even I came back with a pretty gnarly sunburn).  This was the view from our room: 10580132_10103352519031793_7583800574037898765_n

I also liked the fact that there was a gym with tons of weights and machines, yoga classes, and the food (buffet style) was pretty good and there were tons of options.

I’d definitely consider going the all-inclusive route again, especially when traveling to a place where all you want to do is relax.

Where’s the last place you traveled to? Most exotic place you’ve gone running? 

fitness tracking with the EveryMove app.

10 Aug

[Disclosure:  I was given the opportunity to try out the EveryMove app through my #SweatPink ambassadorship.  All of my opinions are my own.]

I have been quick to jump on the fitness tracking bandwagon in the past — I recently purchased a FitBit and wore it with the goal of getting 12,000 steps a day.  I started to get frustrated when I didn’t hit that goal during bar prep – and by some weird fluke, my FitBit also fell off my wrist on July 4th – clearly a sign I needed to take a step back from compulsive fitness tracking.

That being said, it is nice and fun to get rewarded for logging those miles sometimes, and I track my runs through Nike+ (because, hello, they have excellent Instagram integration).  Enter: EveryMove.  This app allows you to sync your pre-existing fitness trackers (everything from FitBit and FuelBands to Nike+ and RunKeeper).

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After you’ve logged a few miles, you are given the opportunity to redeem them for rewards.  A lot of the lower-level rewards feature coupons for discounts for health products — but since a purchase was usually required to redeem those, I opted to donate my miles to charity.  I’ve so far kicked a couple of bucks toward the Make a Wish Foundation and toward cancer research through the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

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Overall, the app is easy to use  — once you sync it with your existing apps, it does all of the heavy lifting for you!

Head over to the App Store to download EveryMove for iPhone here.

Weigh-in: What do you use to track your workouts? 

 

back to life.

3 Aug

Hi everyone! Sorry I went MIA for awhile! But I’m happy to report the CA Bar exam is over (I’ll get results in November) so I’ll be back to blogging a little more regularly!

Since I finished on Thursday, I’ve been doing a lot of this:

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and some of this: 20140803-200222.jpg

Now I’m off to spend a week in Turks & Caicos and will be back with a full report when I’m back! Have a great week :)

NOURISH. {Lorna Jane Cookbook Review}

8 Jul

{Disclosure:  I was given an advanced copy of the Lorna Jane Cookbook to review and was asked to write a review.  I was also given a gift certificate to Lorna Jane through my Sweat Pink Ambassadorship.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own}.

As some of you may know, I recently got more into cooking/meal-prepping since I switched to a *mostly* paleo diet a few months ago. (Okay, I cheat sometimes, but leaning paleo has worked for me, so I’m sticking with it).

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I jumped at the chance to check out NOURISH – billed as a Fit Woman’s Cookbook.  The roughly 130-pages are filled with gorgeous options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert, as well as LJ’s fitness and food prep tips, and some of her healthy living mantras and suggestions.  I really liked Lorna Jane‘s definition of what “active living” means to her:

active Living: [ak-tive; liv-ing]
verb
1. to get more out of life by giving more of yourself every day.
2. to strive to be better each day than you were the day before.
3. to practise moVe, nourIsh, beLIeVe
✱ moving your body every day
✱ nourishing your body with delicious food
✱ believing anything is possible if you are willing to work for it.

(Fun fact: Lorna Jane is Australian so some of the spelling is cutely non-American).

There were a BUNCH of recipes I wanted to try, and all of them use mostly healthy ingredients.  The one thing I noticed about many of the recipes, though, is they included many ingredients and some of them were not necessarily things I had on hand.  Luckily, a lot of the recipes are adaptable and can serve as inspiration in the kitchen.

I am three weeks out from the California bar exam (eek!) so cooking elaborate recipes is sort of out of the question right now, so I opted to test out two of LJ’s snack options.  Study snacks are crucial these days.

First, I was intrigued by the honey & sesame spirulina balls.

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LJ’s version:  honey & sesame spirulina balls

  • 1 cup macademias
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconuts
  • 1/3 cup unhulled tahini
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon spirulina powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black chia seeds

Process together, form into ball shapes, and freeze for 30 minutes.

I didn’t have “dessicated coconuts” (no idea what those are), couldn’t find tahini, or vanilla bean paste, and opted to forego the spirulina powder (because, paleo) and created my own version.  Thanks for the inspiration, LJ, I will DEFINITELY be snackin’ on these again in the future:

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 my version:

Combine the following in a blender:

  • 6 dates
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

Roll together in ball forms and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  These were DELICIOUS, #ifidososaysomyself.  I meant to save these for study snacks throughout the week but they didn’t last 24 hours – they made a great pre-run breakfast this morning to take the edge off. I’ll definitely make them again as study fuel, for sure.

I also opted to try another of Lorna Jane’s easier snack options — frozen raspberries and grapes! 

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These were so easy – literally just throw some grapes and raspberries in the freezer and enjoy!  The grapes hit the spot during some study sessions, but I didn’t love how the freezing basically took all of the sweetness out of the raspberries and left them super sour.  I’d freeze grapes again but maybe not raspberries.

I’m excited to check out more of Lorna Jane’s recipes once I have a little bit more time to get creative.  (There are some veggie wraps that look incredible).

Want to win a copy of NOURISH? 

Come party-it-up with the Sweat Pink Community and Lorna Jane on July 9th at 6PM PST / 9PM EST with the #LiveLoveNourish Initiative!  Join us on Twitter and follow #LiveLoveNourish with @LornaJaneActive and @FitApproach! You could be one of 10 winners of a hard copy NOURISH Cookbook, and the most active participant will receive both a cookbook AND a $200 Gift Card to Lorna Jane!

** Click to get started in the #LiveLoveNourish campaign**  =>

Tweet: Join the #LiveLoveNOURISH initiative w/ @LornaJaneActive @FitApproach! Giveaway of: 10 NOURISH Cookbooks + $200 Gift Card to #lornajane!

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  • Favorite study snack? 
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