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my mom’s birthday + a little track love.

4 Oct

On Monday night after my Trial Advocacy class, I headed out to my hometown.  My mom’s birthday was Tuesday and I had the morning free, so my mom and I planned a fun morning.

First, we hiked to the top of China Flat.  I seriously love where I grew up and you can’t beat the views from this hike.
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See?

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After our hike and a Starbucks run, we changed and headed to brunch along Westlake Lake at Zin Americana. By some miracle, my brother was able to join us despite his phone being off.

As we were enjoying the view, my brother ran into one of his “homies” hanging out by the water. My brother yelled “I’ll talk to you later, it’s my mom’s birthday!!!”

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IMG_4724The waitress heard my brother’s yell and brought my mom out a birthday dessert of crème brûlée. Such a nice touch!

IMG_4725Unfortunately after brunch I had to head back into the city to go to mock trial program at a middle school.  The kids are working hard and last week we saw the first glimpses of their mastery of the facts and their cross-examination skills. Can’t wait for the final trial in November!

Tuesday night, I met up with my running group. We did a 5.50 mile run down Figueroa and back, with one lap around USC’s track.

IMG_4728There is something pretty magical about running around this track — maybe because the band was practicing, or the lights…I don’t know. I’m not an SC fan really, but I am starting to think maybe coming here might be good running juju.

5.50 miles//39:36//7:10 pace.  Splits: 7:24, 7:09, 7:03, 7:13, 7:02, 3:35 (0.50 miles).

I need to come back here for a real track workout. Yassos, anyone?

celebration station.

24 May

Last weekend was filled with some pretty fun celebrations.

On Friday, my roommate Jenn graduated from USC Law.

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Jenn and I have been through a lot together (besides the recent burglarization of our apartment + moving), but law-related as well. We lived together at our sorority house the semester we studied for the LSAT. We also took the same LSAT prep class and took practice tests together.  We ended up scoring one point apart on the LSAT. (Fun fact).  We proofread each other’s admissions essays, and have lived together through Jenn’s 2L and 3L, and all of my law school experience so far (I was in Spain when Jenn was a 1L).

It was awesome to see Jenn graduate and to be a part of her graduation, and to meet members of her extended family.

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After the ceremony, we headed to her family’s country club (I know, what sort of life am I leading?) for a celebratory dinner. The view was insane.

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And I ate one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had, from Dots in Pasadena.

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On Saturday, I dropped by my friend Kelsey’s parents’  house for a little birthday BBQ. I haven’t seen her parents or sister since high school, and it is always fun to see Kelsey, and now her fiancé, Drew.

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I also caught up with another good high school friend, Sam, on Saturday night. She is studying to be a nurse, and had two 12-hour shifts, back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday at a nearby hospital, so she spent the night. Love catching up with old friends.

On Sunday, the celebrations continued with my friend Andrea’s bridal shower. Andrea is marrying one of my high school friends, A.K. (I guess he goes by Andrew now…whatever.) I have gotten to know Andrea pretty well over the past 4 years, and her bridesmaids put on a very nice bridal shower. I especially enjoyed the mimosa bar.

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The shower was loosely themed around “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” – so we had to frost ourselves as soon as we walked in. I promise I don’t always dress like Khloe Kardashian.

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me, Andrea the Bride-to-Be, and Jenn

We played some games, drank and ate a little, and talked all things wedding. Looking forward to July 28th!

Also on Sunday, I attended a lunch to celebrate my friend Heather’s graduation from Loyola Law School! I was a loser and didn’t snap a single photo…at least for once I wasn’t being inattextive.

Such a great weekend. Back soon with more. 

what a week.

15 May

I’ve been pretty busy this last week since the OC Half…but fun busy…even if I had to study and take a final.

The day after the race I suffered through some soreness and went golfing for basically the first time ever with my buddy Taylor. I wasn’t great, but I actually hit the ball okay a few times.

The best part was when an old man watching clapped after my first non-terrible hit, and said “you’re closer than you think you are, this is a tough game.”

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Also last week, I activated a one-month membership at Equinox DTLA that I received free from a Klout Perk. I signed up, got a tour, and a bag/T-Shirt. As part of my perk, I also get a complimentary session on a pilates reformer, which I’ve never used before.

So far I’ve taken a couple of yoga classes as well as a spin class. I also love the fact that the treadmill has a virtual reality course so you feel like you’re (almost sort of) running outside.

Hard to beat this view of DTLA’s Library from the yoga studio:

morning view.

morning view.

I’ll do a full review of the gym when I’ve used up my month long membership, but I am going to try as many classes as I can.

On Friday, most of my friends were studying, so I hit up my parents to grab dinner with me at The Standard Rooftop.

Loooooove the views.

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And how sick is the pool + sunset:

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Plaintain chips & guacamole was the best thing ever.

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We also noshed on chicken skewers and bacon-wrapped shrimp.

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I also squeezed in some studying. With only one final this semester, spreading out studying for one class over two weeks was sort of hard – every day I felt like I wasn’t doing enough, but I probably studied more for this test than I would have had I been on a more traditional finals schedule.

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On Saturday morning, I met up with Whitney at SoulCycle SAMO for a ride. It was so great to shake the remaining soreness from the half out. We rode with Gina, who I liked, but she told the class “I love you” over 10 times which sort of weirded me out. On Saturday evening, I headed home to spend Sunday with my family for Mother’s Day.

On Sunday, I decided to run 20 miles. Yep, you read that right. I have been wanting to do a full marathon for awhile – and wasn’t able to do LA when I trained for it due to messed up hips/IT band/knee. I figured if I could get in one really long training run of 20 miles, I could conceivably do Rock N Roll San Diego on June 2.

Last week’s half went well (and decently fast), so I mapped out a 20 mile route, and roped in my friend Hannes to run it with me.

We started at my house at 6 am. At mile 8, my Dad met us (near Westlake Lake) with gels and water. My focus the first 8 was just to maintain a good pace and not go to fast. Hannes and I chatted until about mile 10, when we put music on. Miles 10-14 were spent running up to and around Lake Sherwood, which was HILLY but gorgeous. Again, at mile 14, my Dad met us to refuel, and I slipped a hat on. The last few miles were sort of tough, but we did it. We ran 20 miles in about 2:40, so while I am nervous for 26.2, I am confident I can do it.

I took a gel/gu every 45 minutes, and wore what I plan to wear on race day. Side note: I used to think running skirts were dumb, but in fact this is THE most comfortable thing I’ve ever worn while running.

IMG_3787Also, how dorky/cool are my socks?
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After running, stretching, showering, and lounging around, my parents and I headed to The Lab in Agoura Hills for brunch. Mimosas were imbibed.

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And Cinnamon Toast Crunch French Toast was consumed. #bomb. IMG_3791

My recovery has been great. My knees and hips felt a little sore, but I have tried to make a commitment to do way more yoga between now and the marathon. I took a class at Equinox yesterday and pigeon pose felt amazing.

Oh yeah, on Monday I took my final in Evidence. It was fine – just longgggg. 4 hours: 65 MC questions and “one” essay – one fact pattern, but 5 pieces of evidence we had to analyze. The exam started at 12, went til 4, and we’re not allowed to bring in food or water. So you better believe that I was starving. First stop after? Yardhouse…obviously.

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beers with Connor, Blake (and Aviva)

Love that tradition.

Also on Monday…I officially committed to the 26.2 distance…SOON. I’ll be running my first full mary on June 2. Nervous/exited/will be yoga-ing non-stop until then. I’d love any marathon tips/tricks/advice any of you may have!

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Yesterday I was able to meet up with Katherine for a #SOULDATE at Soul Cycle SAMO. We took a class with Laura Crago, who is by far my favorite instructor. She’s a BEAST, has the best music, and is super motivating. Loved her class. Afterward, Katherine and I caught up over brunch at Huckleberry. We both ordered this super-savory brisket hash served with arugula and two eggs. So good.

 

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It was so nice seeing Katherine! We first met a little over a year ago and have caught up every few months. Proof that meeting people from blogging really is a thing.

The rest of the week I will be lounging, working out, and relaxing before I start my summer job on Monday.

Happy Hump Day, y’all!

Hit me with your best marathon advice!
 

keeping traditions alive.

24 Nov

I’ve always been into traditions. The rest of my family is, too, but probably to a less OCD extent. I love Thanksgiving weekend because it is full of them. When I was in high school, Thanksgiving was a nice little break from school, and a great time to chow down on some of my fav holiday fare (read: my mom’s cranberry relish and pumpkin bread). In college, I loved Thanksgiving weekend because I was reunited with all my high school favs. The real fun began, though, the first Thanksgiving everyone was 21 and “Blackout Wednesday” became a thing.

This was the 4th annual #BOW (yes, that is a real hashtag we created this year). This year’s festivities also coincided with my friend Matt’s 25th birthday, so his level of celebration was off the charts. Every year, we pre-game at our friend Jeff’s to start off the night. This year was particularly eventful.

orange jello shots.

shots with ryan’s mom, pam.

After this debauchery, we literally have parents drive us to the Mexican restaurant we always go to. Every year, we order margaritas, Matt gets intoxicated, and then delivers a speech/roast about everyone. His quip about me was something in the “Gillian actually isn’t studying right now” or something to that effect. This year’s speech was funny in parts – but awkward when the waiter kept coming to tell him to quiet down upwards of 8 times.

whitney and me marg-ing it up.

me and my buddy alex.

kopstein + whitney.

matt, mid-speech.

After we sorted out the bill, we walked next door to a local “club” that features live music every year on the night before Thanksgiving. Whitney and I called it a night around 11:30 – but apparently most of my guy friends kicked it there until 2.

On Thanksgiving morning, my friend Hannes picked me up to head over to Cal Lutheran University to run the Conejo Valley Turkey Day Dash. This course was much better than the course last year, which took place at the Thousand Oaks Mall. I ran 23:07 in a 5k last weekend, and my splits were a huge joke. My goal this week was to run more conservatively to start, and to beat 23:07. I clocked a 22:56 and my splits were all in the 7s. Phew. Hannes and I ran the first mile or so together, then he finally took me up my offer to leave me at my slow pace. He finished in 20:54. Beast. I love this tradition (yes, doing something 2 years in a row makes it a tradition). Always a nice reminder on Thanksgiving morning that I’m not anywhere near prime 5k shape.

First race I’ve ever been to where they immediately sent me an e-mail with my time/place. (7th in my age group out of 87). There was a pretty big field – over 1,700 runners!

The rest of Thanksgiving Day was pretty low-key. My little bro decided to kick it in the Bay Area with my Aunt and Uncle for Thanksgiving. We made up for it with ample FaceTiming.

my uncle and my dad.

my aunt doin’ work.

my bro, after his 7 hour nap. I kid you not.

3/4 of my immediate family feasted around 4.

After dinner, we went and saw “Silver Linings Playbook.” The film critics are loving it, but we all thought it was so-so. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were both great, but some parts were disjointed and felt long, cliche, and a little weird. I’m glad I saw it, but I wouldn’t really give it rave reviews by any means.

I got a little bit Instagram happy on Thursday – whoops. Here’s what I’m most thankful for this year:

law school posse. LA. house music. my family. and caffeine.

On Friday, I spent most of the day teaching myself Ethical Lawyering since I literally know nothing. I did an impromptu cross-fit workout that was a recent post from Carrots N Cake. The WOD was called “99” and featured

  • 1 mi: 7:28
  • 33 push-ups (modified – girl way)
  • 1 mi: 7:27
  • 33 air squats
  • 1 mi: 7:19
  • 33 burpees (modified – 3 sets of 11)

I liked this workout and felt more accomplished than just going out and doing a short run. The best part, though was a tweet I received from Tina herself after I tweeted about my workout!

Last night I was able to catch up with a high school friend, Hayley! Whitney and I met her for  drink and then headed to see her cousin’s band, Magic Bronson, perform at a local venue. I liked their music a lot – it was synthy and sort of electro-rock. It was great seeing Hayley as well. She is co-director of a summer camp and works in Fresno so we don’t get to see her all that often.

The rest of the weekend will be pretty low-key with some studying sprinkled in. Finals hibernation is coming…

Hope everyone had a delightful Thanksgiving!!

Do you have any traditions you’re obsessive about?

 

olympic (and other) inspiration.

6 Aug

I love the Olympics. But what I really love is the running events. These are the moments I remember, the athletes I follow during non-Olympic times, and the sport(s) I can relate to. There have already been some amazing and inspiring races.

I spent 2.5 hours on Saturday watching the women’s marathon. As I typed that, I realized that 2.5 hours is closer to my half-marathon time than what I could ever dream of running 26.2 in, but that’s okay. I was disappointed to see the Americans struggle (Shalane Flanagan was HURTING, and I think the tough course and conditions didn’t make things easy for Kara Goucher). Desiree Davila had to drop out before mile 3 due to a hip flexor injury. I LOVE Monica‘s reflections on what that must feel like in this post.  Watching the finish between the leading four women, though, was awesome. I ended my viewing session feeling empowered and with my game-face on to run a marathon.

(source)

The men’s 10,000 was pretty awesome as well, seeing Mo Farah and Galen Rupp go 1-2 at the finish. They’re friends and training partners, and Rupp HAULED at the end.

(source)

My FAVORITE moment of London 2012 so far, though, was the finish of the men’s 400 m semi-final, where the winner (James) asked Oscar Pistorius (who is a double amputee) for his name bib. Pistorius finished last, and this gesture was incredible. Pistorius will undoubtedly remain one of the heros and inspirations of these games. So touching.

(soure)

I’m excited to watch more track events – particularly the 400m men’s final, the decathlon, the women’s 100m hurdles, and obviously all of the distance events. Running is the best.

In other random news – here are so me tidbits from the last week or so:

Last Thursday was National IPA Day. Thank goodness Katherine alerted me about it on Twitter – I HAD to celebrate. Luckily, Jenn and I ended up in the Conejo Valley to run an errand (more on that later) so she suggested we hit up my very favorite micro-brewery in LA: Ladyface Alehouse and Brasserie. I sipped on a Ladyface Ale.

Ladyface IPA.

And we shared the Panzanella Salad (which they recently changed – it used to be a little better) and the mac n cheese.

That errand we were running? To pick up my new favorite piece of furniture I bought off Craigslist from someone out in Simi Valley! For months Jenn and I have wanted a bar cart or something to fill out our apartment. I even reached out to Twitter I was so frustrated with the high prices I was seeing everywhere:

On Thursday morning, my mom emailed me a link to a bar she had found – it was in my price range, originally from Pottery Barn and rarely (if ever) used, matched my other furniture, and was still available! It was meant to be.

Here it is with our “collection” before we put it away….

…and after:

Best. Purchase. Ever.

I already recapped the Hood Internet show I went to on Friday. On Saturday, I high-tailed it back out to the Conejo Valley for a dentist appointment at home. I ran some errands out that way (including buying a new suit for OCI interviews).

That evening, my mom and I headed to my friend Garrett’s home for his wedding reception. I wasn’t able to make it to his wedding in June, so it was so nice to see him and his wife, Elizabeth, and his family. I even spotted old prom photos that I may or may not be in on the wall. Those crack me up every time. Maybe one day they will make it on the blog. I was also stoked to be able to see some of my old friends from my cross-country days. In particular, Garrett and I were both friends with a group of guys two grades below us. 8 years later and I can still make fun of them. It’s mildly weird now that they can drink legally, though.

evan, doug, me, garrison, and garrett.

So fun. When my mom and I left, we noticed someone had egged my car (?!) so that was a minor nuisance.

On Sunday, I “slept in” til after 8 and set out for a 9 mile run. I had left my Garmin at my apartment, so settled for an estimate my Dad suggested. I think it was a little short (maybe 8.5) but it was nice to run on some familiar territory. I am in “Olympics mode” and running long felt great. I spent the rest of the day watching the Olympics and preparing for OCI. (A separate post on OCI and my 2L plans to come!)

This weekend was fun – and reminded me of two things I cherish: running and old friends.

Last week’s workouts were admittedly uninspired. I think finishing work sort of left me a little bit lazy. Game on this week. (I say that now…)

  • Monday: Yoga (Core Power Yoga)
  • Tuesday: OFF
  • Wednesday: 4 mi. run
  • Thursday: 3 mi. run + Yoga (Runyon Canyon)
  • Friday: 1 mi. run and LIGHT weights at the gym (I decided I did not want to be there, at all)
  • Saturday: OFF
  • Sunday: 8.5-9 mile run in Agoura

What is your favorite Olympic moment from 2012 so far? Favorite Olympic moment ever? 

merry christmas.

25 Dec

Merry Christmas to everyone out there who celebrates it!

I got home to my parents’ house on the evening of the 23rd after an epic trip to Vegas (post to follow) and have spent the last couple of days unwinding and relaxing. We had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of tamales last night (yum) and cinnamon rolls this morning, after we checked out what Santa had left us in our stockings (I got an awesome Starbucks Las Vegas mug, some great gift cards…helloooo In N Out and the App Store – which apps should I get??) and a bunch of other fun little odds and ends.

We also opened our presents this morning – some highlights include Sonicare, this iPhone Case which I am beyond obsessed with (remember the 2008 Olympic Games’ Bird Nest?) I got some great useful things(   fun dishware, towels, sheets) and some other great stuff including a guide to 250 beers from my aunt and uncle, and a Santa Cruz sweatshirt from my little bro. All in all it was a great morning 🙂

After presents we drove down to Decker Canyon for a hike. After spending Christmas in freezing Madrid last year, it was so nice to spend Christmas in sunny so-cal this year. Here are some pics from our hike…

 

 

Hope everyone is enjoying the day!

Now I’m serious, what are a few must-have iPhone apps!?

tryptophan and turkey trots.

25 Nov

I hope everyone is having a relaxed and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend! Mine has been a blend of family, friends, running, and school-work. So basically, no different from any other weekend. Cool.

I came home to my parent’s house on Tuesday night after picking up my brother at the airport.

he has since shaved off the mohawk.

Wednesday included a hardcore study sesh (listening to house music is a GREAT study call) and then “Blackout Wednesday.” I kept it class with a Skinny Margarita at Latigo Kid because of my Turkey Trot the next morning, but my friends raged pretty hard. A drunk speech was made, counting the bill took about 40 minutes and numerous minds to divy it up correctly, and we ran into tons of former high school classmates. All in all, a successful pre-Thanksgiving night out. No photos will be posted to protect said participants’ dignity.

We popped next door to the Canyon Club to see the Spazmatics, but my favorite part of the night was probably the mid-set house music interlude. Cool. I wrapped up the night on the early-ish side and slept for a few hours before my Turkey Trot!

On Thanksgiving morning, my Dad and I headed out relatively early to pick up my friends Hannes and Kelsey for the Conejo Valley YMCA Turkey Day Dash. We also ran into a couple of other former cross country teammates which was super fun.

hannes, kelsey, courtney, (courtney's mom, christina), and me with my eyes closed.

XC reunion 🙂

The course was a little bit anti-climatic (basically a run through the mall’s parking lot) but it was really fun doing a Turkey Trot (apparently the single-busiest day of the year for road races!) and it was great running with old friends! Hannes and I ran the first mile together and then he sped off – but I was overall happy with my time of 21:23. And now I am icing my knee because I am too old to be doing this. The shirts from the race are also pretty legit – huge turkey on the front, and the words “Fitness Before the Feast” emblazoned on it. Awesome.

I spent the middle part of the day printing out cover letters for summer jobs and watching this week’s Modern Family (easily one of my favorite eps yet – Phil Dunphy had the best lines ever). Record scratch! My family also went to my friend Garrett’s house for a potluck. It was fun talking to his family and seeing all of my friends again (even if they were all hungover). Hah.

Dinner was awesome and small – just my immediate family.

boom.

cranberry relish. the best ever.

yams what am.

Incredibly stoked for leftovers.

My mom and I ended the night by seeing The Descendants. I loved it. It was sad, funny, creative, artful, different, and well-cast. Also, George Clooney AND the Rule Against Perpetuities? Oh, baby.

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you especially thankful for this year? 

After being in Madrid last year for Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for my family and friends and holiday traditions. Beyond that my iPhone tops the list. #notkidding.