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goings on.

10 Oct

The last week has been filled to the brim with Dodger excitement, a couple of good runs, and some even better eats.  I’ve also been busy with school stuff — but that’s not nearly as fun to read about.

On Thursday, I watched NLDS (National League Division Series) Game #1 at Yardhouse and sipped a couple of IPAs. Dodgers beat the Braves — the series was off to an exciting and good start for the Boys in Blue in the ATL!

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The next game was the following day.  Armita, Aviva, and I started off watching the game at Big Wangs and I had my first “beergarita.” I didn’t like it, but Armita insisted this one was not very good. When PS 612 finally opened at 4 we transitioned over there where I had some gift cards to cash in. (They sent me $40 after I wrote this Yelp review).

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But anyway, I digress.  We had some delicious apps and zerts at PS 612, kicked it with some law school friends, and sadly watched the Braves defeat the Doyers.

On Sunday, I went to NLDS Game #3 at home.  This game was insane — the rally towels, the post-season vibe, the #MockTheChop.  The Dodgers won 13-6 and the Dodgers were truly playing like the Dodgers.  This Bill Plaschke column said it best: Yasiel Puig was Yasiel Puiging.

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Also —  a quick note about my own fandom to clear up any bandwagon speculation: I grew up a Dodger fan and grew up going to games, but I have never really made the decision to “follow” any sport at all.  Early this summer, however, I started getting more into following the team.  This can partially be explained by my living 3 miles from Dodger Stadium, and partially by witnessing Puig’s MLB Debut on June 3.  From that point forward I have followed the ups and downs of the team this season — and will continue to do so when this season ends.  Also, for the record, when I became  a more serious fan the Dodgers were in last place in the NL West, and 5 games out of first. (It got wayyyy worse before it got better).

On Monday, I ditched one of my classes to see the Dodgers clinch the NLDS.  The game started at 6:37, but my Dad wanted to ensure we had no LA Traffic problems.  We were at the stadium before the gates opened at 3:30.  Needless to say, we had plenty of time to walk around and chow down on Dodger dogs and beer before the game got going. 

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Our seats were in the Top Deck which I actually like — it’s less crowded than some of the lower sections. Also, the Elysian Park Grill on the Top Deck serves Point the Way IPA. They don’t do that at Anaheim. [Inside joke for my Dad. Really they don’t serve IPAs in just about any other food stand in all of Dodger stadium]. IMG_4773

The game was incredible. Morale was low for a little while there — and it looked like we were going to lose 3-2 to the Braves, despite two home runs by Carl Crawford.  Finally, after Puig puig’d his way to a double, Uribe knocked out a homer and the Dodgers clinched it, 4-3.

I found a shot of my family from this cool feature on MLB.com:

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nervousssss.

Making this even sweeter was the fact that the W gets attributed to relief pitcher and former orange-and-black wearing Brian Wilson (Juan Uribe is also a former Giant).  Seeing them win was awesome — there was an excitement that is hard to describe, and a general buzz in LA about the Dodgers that is unlike anything I have seen in my lifetime. IMG_4781

Looking forward to seeing how the Dodgers fare against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. GO DODGERS.

I also went on a couple of great runs this week.  On Saturday, I met up for a bright and early 8 miler down through DTLA and Chinatown and back across the hidden pedestrian path along the 110 freeway.

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Tuesday’s run featured a speedy jaunt up to Vista Hermosa Park, down through Echo Park Lake, and back along Sunset and then Grand Ave.  We raged afterward with some brews (IPA, duh) and some tacos. These people are fun to run with + have made me faster, no doubt.

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Despite all the dodger dogs, I’ve had a couple of good eats and new drinks lately as well.

On Saturday, September 28th, I joined my BFF Whitney at Septemberfest for some beer in the Indian Summer sunshine. These are our “omg we are trying PEANUT BUTTER beer” faces.  [Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout, Vista, CA].

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Last Saturday,  Whitney came to Gold’s to take my spin class.  Afterward, we hit up Tiara Cafe for brunch. Whitney and I agreed the Breakfast Pizette nearly changed our lives.  The “bearded” french toast was tasty, but it needed an extra kick. IMG_4750

This afternoon, I got my fall fix with a Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie. I used this recipe from Julie over at Peanut Butter Fingers, and modified it slightly.

Combine the following in your blender (or other smoothie making device?)

1/3 c. canned pumpkin

10 ice cubes

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

1 banana

3/4 cup almond milk

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

photo 1This hit the spot LIKE WHOA.  It gets a full-fledged #endorse.  I will be making this again — especially when I get a pumpkin or PSL craving. (Also, I had a PSL the other day and it was OVERLY sweet to the point where I thought “you need to remember you don’t actually like this and never order it again”… so I’ll be making this instead.)

If you made it this far — answer one of the following please:

(1) Is your baseball team still in the playoffs? Who is your team?

Yes they are. Dodgers, duh!

(2) Do you have any races coming up?

I’m running the Long Beach 13.1 on Sunday! Then the Rock n Roll LA Half on 10/27, and Santa to the Sea on 12/8.  I told you fall racing season hit me HARD.

(3) Favorite Pumpkin recipe/treat?

This smoothie will be up there, but nothing tops my mom’s pumpkin bread.

a weekend in nyc.

26 Sep

Last weekend, I flew to NYC to spend a long weekend.  I spent Thursday morning through Sunday exploring Manhattan and Brooklyn with three of my best friends from my sorority, and I also got to visit my aunt!

It all started late Wednesday night when I took the red eye from LAX to JFK. Red eyes are scary-sounding, but I actually totally recommend flying that way. I slept almost the entire way, and felt energized when I landed! (I couldn’t have done it without my neck pillow, eye mask, and ear plugs though, let’s be real).

My aunt Cheri picked me up at JFK – we got a little bit lost en route to her apartment, but a little while later we made it to Brooklyn. Our first order of business (no joke) was to watch the previous night’s episode of Real World/Road Rules: The Challenge (Rivals 2).  My aunt and I have shared this obsession for years, so before we got the day started I routed for my favs, Emily and Paula and Jordan and Marlon. Once we were all ready, my aunt Cheri, her wife Janet, and I headed out to explore their borough.

I consulted the Brooklyn guide of one of my favorite blogs, C’est Christine, and found a couple of places I wanted to check off the list. First on the list was the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. I loved strolling the walkway and getting glimpses of Manhattan:

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Next, we cruised by One Girl Cookies in Cobble Hill (also a rec from C’est Christine). The place was so cute and hit the spot big time. My aunt said she loved “small foods” and “sugar” so she was game to try them out. I loved how the cookie shop had girls’ names for each cookie. I can’t remember which one was my favorite – they were all delicious.

IMG_4611Before I took the subway across the river to meet my friends in the East Village/Lower East side part of town, my aunt, Janet, and I did a couple of margaritas at a local taco place they like.  I sent my mom a photo (I still maintain that my eyes were red-eyes and not drunk-eyes) because she loved the margaritas on her last visit.  It was the perfect Brooklyn send-off!

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Janet and me. Ignore the haggardness, I was still in my red-eye clothes.

On the way to the subway, my aunt pointed of the Barclay Center where the VMAs were held earlier this year. You know, #WeCan’tStop? My inner (outer?) MTV nerd was stoked.

I took the subway into the East Village and met my friends at the rental we had secured through Air BnB.  I have used VRBO before but this was my first venture into Air BnB. Our place had a good location, but it definitely just felt like two guys decided to vacate their apartment for the weekend.  There were no guest amenities and their fridge was stocked…with their stuff.  The place was perfectly fine, it just wasn’t nice.

I was meeting my friends Michelle, Kathleen, and Kate — three of my closest friends from my sorority daze. They all live in SF, and while we see each other when we can, it is still not enough!

The first order of business was dinner in the West Village with their friend, Michael, at a place called Tortilla Flats. The guacamole and margaritas were incredible, and Michael was funny, friendly, and super generous!

IMG_4619We also hit up a couple of other local bars — Upright Brew House (loved) and a super swanky place aptly titled “Employees Only.” (I have already instructed my friend Ryan, lover of all things bougie, to go there on his next NYC trip).

michelle, kate, a very washed out me, and kathleen ready to get our beer drinking on.

michelle, kate, a very washed out me, and kathleen ready to get our beer drinking on.

On Friday morning, Michelle and I had a very important #SoulDate at the Union Square Soul Cycle. We loved our class with Anthony F., and I may have incorporated his closing track (Kaskade – Atmosphere) into my latest spin playlist. It was a great way to the start the day, and not TOO touristy.

IMG_4630Later, Michelle and I stumbled upon a fabulous brunch spot — Friend of a Farmer — for some post-spin fuel. We then met up with Kathleen and had a couple of drinks in Bryant Park. The weather was GORGEOUS.

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day drinking in Bryant Park. Doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.

Kate had to work (the plight of the Googler), but we met up with her that night for a trip to Yankee Stadium to watch the Yanks crush the SF Giants. Our seats were out in the boonies, but we saw A-Rod beat Lou Gherig’s grand slam record, scored a Nathan’s hot dog, and soaked up the fun Yankees Stadium atmosphere. That place is incredible.

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#1 Reason Yankee Stadium > Wrigley Field. They let you put ketchup on your stinkin’ hot dogs!

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I have officially checked off 10 MLB parks  off my bucket list. (if you count both old and new Yankee stadiums as separate…I do). I have been to all 5 in CA, Safeco Field (Mariners), Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and both the old and new Yankee stadiums. I am not sure what #11 will be. Any suggestions? 

love these girls!

love these girls!

On the subway ride out of the Bronx, I got into it with a Giants fan who overheard me talking about the Dodgers. I was recounting a meme I had seen where Brian Wilson (now a Dodger) was accidentally rooting for the Giants, and was laughing about his confusion.

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This woman got all offended that I wasn’t respecting Wilson and that I should be happy to have him. I insisted I was, and also explained that her little organization didn’t want him anymore. Giants fans…god.

Saturday morning started for me and my fellow fittie, Michelle, with a low-key 4-miler along the East River. It was a little humid but a fabulous way to start the morning. Thanks for being my running bud, Michelle!

IMG_4649IMG_4644We hustled to get ready for brunch in Chelsea at Crema Restaurante. We met up with Amy, who was in town from Beijing (!), as well as Kiira, Trisha, and Kelly, friends from our sorority who live in NYC. It was great catching up with them over mimosas and delicious Mexican-inspired, family style brunch fare.

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Amy, me, Kate, and Kathleen brunching it up.

IMG_4650I was obsessed with the french toast dish, but all of it was delicious!

After brunch, Kate and I headed out for a few hours. We explored Chelsea Market, walked the High Line, and stopped for a beer at the beer garden at The Standard. Such a fun afternoon!

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view from the High Line.

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it was super windy.

beer garden time with Kate :)

beer garden time with Kate 🙂

Later that night, I went out with Kathleen to a super legit beer garden in Brooklyn. We ordered kas spaetlze and it brought me right back to Vienna. And it was delicious. We got hit with a little bit of rain on Saturday, but it was all cleared up by Sunday.

My last day in NYC started with a delicious NY bagel, coffee, and a stroll through Central Park with Kathleen.

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We stumbled upon a cute little Farmers Market in the Upper West — the $2 piece of pizza I had was perfect.  We mozied back to our AirBnB place, finished packing, and I grabbed a shuttle with Michelle back to JFK for our respective flights. The shuttle took FOREVER and was sort of uncomfortably hot and quiet — are all Super Shuttle experiences like that? This was my first.

I made it to my gate with only 15 minutes or so to spare.  I enjoyed the 5.5 hour flight back to LAX — I listened to some music and finally got back in the law school grind.

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always gunning.

My friend Aviva was super generous and picked me up (who needs Super Shuttle when you have nice friends?). And with that, my whirlwind of a weekend came to a close!

I had a fabulous weekend in NYC with some awesome people, but I was so excited to wake up in my own bed on Monday morning and to go on a run through DTLA 🙂

What is your favorite thing about NYC? 

(favorite) days of summer.

18 Aug

Tomorrow is the first day of my last year of law school.  Even typing that is UNREAL.  I am oddly sad to start my last year of school, ever.  I have always loved school and love law school the most of all, so it’s definitely bittersweet. (I know, #nerdalert like whoaaaa).

I had a fabulous summer and wanted to capture some of my very favorite moments:

Running a Marathon

Running a marathon has been on my “bucket list” of goals for forever.  After I was sidelined from running the LA Marathon in 2012 due to a gnarly IT-band injury, I decided this year was the year after running a strong half in May.  I trained for it in less than a month (I wouldn’t recommend that, but hey).  I felt like I wasn’t going to ever walk again and may have lost a toenail or two, but I completed my first marathon this summer in 3:49.  It was probably the thing about this summer I am most proud of, although it wasn’t necessarily the most “fun.”

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Teaching Spin 

I was really on a roll with checking off fitness goals this summer.  Ever since I REALLY got into spinning (2007/2008), I’ve had the eventual goal of getting certified.  I’ve been meaning to do a full post about this, but I spent a day getting certified in late June, took a test online, and a week or so later I started co-teaching at my local Gold’s Gym.  I’m now an official employee and teach Saturday mornings.  It has been fun and challenging, and I am grateful Gold’s took me on.  My favorite instructor is my mentor and has guided me and given me great advice.  Now I just need to try and sound like less of a dork when I speak on the mic.

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Los Doyers 

One of my favorite things this summer was going to a TON of Dodger games.  I RANDOMLY happened to be at Dodger Stadium the night Yasiel Puig made his MLB debut, and this season has been straight-up magic so far.   I’ve been lucky to go with law school friends, high school friends, a study abroad/hostel friend,  my parents, work friends…etc. It’s been an awesome summer for my Dodger game attendance, and for the boys in blue. #AllTheyDoIsWin

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Chicago. 

One highlight of the summer was going to Chicago for my friends’ AK and Andrea’s wedding, and then spending a few more days there doing Chi-town things.

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Santa Cruz for Reid’s Graduation

My parents and I had a great time spending a relaxing weekend in Santa Cruz to watch my brother graduate.  I especially loved the short run I squeezed in along the coast and exploring my brother’s neighborhood!

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Outdoor picnics/boozing.

I loved going to Street Food Cinema‘s movie nights at Exposition Park this summer – I managed to make it there twice.  I also discovered a new love – the Wine Tasting Fridays at Barsndall Art Park. The 4th Annual DTLA Craft Beer Crawl merits its own post as well – so fun.

law school friends at Street Food Cinema.

law school friends at Street Food Cinema.

Barnsdall.

Barnsdall.

beer crawling.

beer crawling.

Paddleboarding.

I only did this once, but it was great.  I’m adding “getting on the water” as a new fitness/life goal.  I want to own a paddleboard, especially one that says “YOLO” on it.  995980_10102316772371403_1849457150_n

DTLA Running Group. 

Although technically I started running with these guys in the spring, I started really getting into it this summer.  I average one run a week with a group I found through meetup.com. I’ve explored some awesome areas near downtown: Vista Hermosa Park, Echo Park Lake, Boyle Heights, and LA State Historic Park.  I’ve also met some great people – last week we did beer and tacos after!

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I’m looking forward to this semester and hope to tackle some goals, learn a lot, and have a lot of fun. #ThreeLFreeL may be the relevant hashtag.

What is your favorite summer memory?

tripping [chicago].

3 Aug

After the wedding on Sunday, my parents and I had until Thursday to sight-see and take in the city.  First on the agenda was a guided boat cruise of Chicago architecture with everyone who was still in town for the wedding – including the bride and groom!

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It was a great tour – Chicago’s architecture is truly the most captivating of any city I’ve been to, at least in the U.S.  We snapped photos and learned about modernism’s “austerity” vs. post-modernism’s “contextualism.”  Cue a new obsession forming for me…I looooove me some post-modernism.

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one day married!

After the cruise, a bunch of us went to lunch along the river.  I had a Revolution Anti-Hero IPA.  No, waiter, I will not shy away when you warn me that it’s “pretty hoppy.”  It was excellent.

That evening, my family, Ryan’s family, and Justin’s family headed out to Wrigleyville to watch the lackluster Cubs take on the equally uninspiring Brewers. It was awesome catching  a game in Wrigley – although I do prefer Dodger stadium’s feel.  I had an Old Style and a hot dog, which apparently you’re not supposed to eat with ketchup.  I guess I learned that one the hard way.

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Instead of staying at the Hyatt again, my parents rented a brownstone in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood using VRBO.  It was cool to check out a different (adorable) neighborhood and to see the city from a different angle.

On Tuesday, I slept in and may have used the morning to catch up on The Bachelorette, after I had heard the internet exploded.  I have HATEEEED this season.  Des is the least interesting Bachelorette, ever, but reading Reality Steve’s spoilers have kept in mildly interesting.  Once my pop-culture prowess was restored, we set off for more Chicago tourist jaunts.  First up on the list was another deep-dish place, Uno.  Delicioussss. IMG_4289I took my parents by “the bean” and Jay Pritzker Pavilion, my new favorite Frank Gehry piece.  If you haven’t gathered by now, I am FG obsesssssed.  He designed my law school, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Bilbao’s Guggenheim, and a building in Prague I loved (the Fred and Ginger House).  He’s super funky and whimsical, and now when I go to a new city I Google “Frank Gehry” there to make sure I stop by and see whatever it is he’s designed. [Note: I get quite a bit of flack for this, a lot of people think Gehry is “weird.” Nope, I love him].  I am bummed I didn’t make it to an outdoor concert here.  I guess there’s always next time!

IMG_4240Also on Tuesday, we headed to Chicago’s Art Institute.  They had a lot of great pieces, but I was especially drawn to the Van Goghs and Monets.

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Monet – Wheat stacks

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Monet – Water lilies

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Van Gogh – The Drinkers

It was also really great seeing American Gothic and A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte in person as well.

That evening, my parents and I had a couple of drinks on the 96th floor of the John Hancock building.  Although it’s not quite as high as the observation deck on the Willis (formerly known as Sears) Tower, I’d heard the views were far superior.  The views of the city from the Signature Lounge at the John Hancock could truly not be beat. Tip: If you go, make SURE you check out the restrooms.  Some of the best views are in there!

IMG_4309We also hopped around Navy Pier and walked around the city a lot.

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On Wednesday, I went on a run to Lincoln Park and then did a little exploring back over by the bean.  One of my law school friends, Greg, gave me a whole list of recommendations (more on that later) so I was determined to check a few of his suggestions off my list.  Later, I met back up with my parents for some more eating + drinks by the river.  My parents ordered a bottle of wine and ended up giving the rest of it to the people at the table next to us, who had *just* finished taking the Illinois bar.  I explained that that will be me in a year and one responded “Oh god, California is THREE DAYS.”  Yupppp.

On Thursday, we left the Brownstone, headed out to one last foodie pit-stop in the West Loop, and made our way to Midway.

It was a fantastic trip, and we tasted some delicious food.  Here’s a quick break-down of my fav eats:

IMG_43421. Revolution Anti-Hero IPA (Chicago, Illinois).  Nice and hoppy. Read: Loooooove.

2. Uno’s Pizza. I later learned this is my friend AK’s favorite pizza place in Chicago.  I asked a few locals what their favorite pizza joint was, and this was always at the top of the list.  It did not disappoint.

3. Raspberry Guacamole at Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill.  This was one of my very favorite things.  It was essentially guac with added raspberries.  It sounded weird at first (my dad was a little shifty-eyed when I suggested it) but the flavors blended together perfectly.  I need to recreate this.  We also tried an out-of-this-world mole tamale and the ceviche was perfect.

4. Intelligentsia Coffee.  This was high up on Greg’s list of recommendations.  Intelligentsia is all over LA, but I had no idea it  originated in Chicago.  In my mind, it’s LA’s answer to SF’s Blue Bottle or Portland’s Stumptown Coffee roasters.  I got a “Summer Solstice” blend to take with me to Millennium Park.  Along with my coffee, I took another of Greg’s suggestions and hit up Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine Bar for a sandwich.  I asked the guy behind the counter what their signature sandwich is and promptly ordered the “Blue Pig ‘n’ Fig” which consisted of serrano ham, figs, arugula, and blue cheese. So good.

5. Churros con chocolate at Rick Bayless’ Xoco.  Next door to Frontera Grill is a smaller Rick Bayless place called Xoco – so obviously we had to go back for dessert.  My churros con chocolate were pretty delicious – but so were my mom’s dulce de leche enchilada and my dad’s ice cream. Nom.

6.  Lou Malnati’s Pizza.  We went back here a second time after the rehearsal dinner and ordered the “chicago classic” which had sausage, was super cheesy, and had a delicious sauce.  I’m not really sure which I liked better – Lou Malnati’s or Uno’s, but I think this dish might have won.

7. Little Goat Bread.  The last place I checked off Greg’s list was Little Goat Bread.  He’d reminded me Stephanie Izard, a past winner of Top Chef, has a James Bead-winning restaurant, The Girl and the Goat, in Chicago.  She also has a small diner (Little Goat Diner) and an even smaller sandwich place called Little Goat Bread.   I had an insanely delectable turkey sandwich, and then went back and grabbed a lemon and chocolate scone and a triple chocolate cookie for my parents.  All were amazing.  We ranked that meal the highlight of the trip.

I was sad to end such a great vacation – but enjoyed my travel classic of ginger ale on the airplane, and powered my way through a new book, aptly about Chicago. (I’m reading The Devil in the White City.)

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Alright…let me hear your favorite Chicago places!

dodger baseball is on the air.

30 Jun

If you’ve been following me on social media, you know that I’ve been going to a bunch of Dodger games lately.  Although I’ve been a fan for ages, now that I live so close to the stadium I am that much more incentivized to go to as many games as possible.  Although the Dodgers are still last in the NL West, right now we’re only 5 games back (and only one game behind the Giants). The team is still somewhat of a mess, but they have a renewed energy thanks to Puig.

I was at the game on Monday against the Giants – where we saw a Puig HR and a victory.  This was game 3 in what ended up being a 6-game win streak for the Dodgers.

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I also attended the game on Friday which happened to be the Dodgers worst loss at home since 1947…when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn. The Dodgers lost 16-1…and the six-game winning streak came to an end.

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I wasn’t at last night’s game, but it was pretty comical to watch Puig KICK a ball from the outfield into the stands…accidentally. And then watch his frustration when it was deemed a ground-rule double.

Favorite MLB teams? Traditions for going to games? Let me hear ’em!