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#VegasChristmas

26 Dec

This was definitely one of the most memorable Christmases my family has ever had. I headed home on the 22nd and spent a few days catching up with old friends and spending quality time with the fam.

On the 21st, I headed to one of my law school friend’s parties in Santa Monica. The theme was “Hawaiian Christmas” so I trekked to the local Goodwill and picked up a shirt for $5 and a Santa hat at CVS (also for $5). I loved the theme – and brought Christmas and Hawaiian beer – and had fun catching up with some of my law school favs. We ended the night with a 1 am trip to Norm’s. My hamburger craving was duly satisfied.

Mele Kalikimaka!

Mele Kalikimaka!

one of the rare instances where I am not trying to choke Taylor and he is not pushing me into strangers and spilling their beer.

one of the rare instances where I am not trying to choke Taylor and he is not pushing me into strangers and spilling their beer.

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Before I headed the the ‘burbs, my roommate Jenn surprised me with my Christmas gift. I had earlier given her a Garmin 10 (birthday + Christmas combined). She gave me this GORGEOUS dress (I have been ogling this style since Emily Maynard wore something similar on her season of The Bachelorette) and a book on eating Paleo. I have been interested in learning more about Paleo and trying to eat more cleanly. Perfect. Gift.

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I headed home and went on a run, hung out with my family, etc. That evening, my mom and I headed to my good friend Angela’s parents’ home for a holiday party/post-Wedding get together. I was able to attend Angela’s wedding in September and it was so fun to catch up with her and see her parents. Her mom is QUITE the hostess – they had an amazing spread of Mexican fare and a whole table devoted to desserts (blogger FAIL – I didn’t nab a single photo of the night). Friends from high school and Angela’s family were all there, which was so nice. Angela and I were extremely close all through high school, and while we don’t get to see each other that often, I am always so amazed by how we quickly slip into conversations as if no time has passed. Such a fun night!

my family's tree.

my family’s tree.

The next day, I spent a little bit of time at a memorial service for the Grandma of my good friends Garrett and Jeff. It was a very sweet service. Grandma Dorothy was a HUGE Dodger fan so everyone was encouraged to wear Dodger gear. One of her favorite players, Andre Ethier, sent a personalized e-mail that was read aloud which was very touching. I got to speak with Grandma Dorothy a little bit over the years and she was always incredibly sweet and funny. I will always remember that she told me I looked beautiful at my senior prom. 🙂

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I was also able to catch up with my good girlfriends – the night of the 23rd featured drinks at my FAVORITE local place – Ladyface Alehouse and Brasserie – for drinks with Hayley and Whitney. Love the vibe there. and the beer. I was also able to spend a couple of hours on Christmas Eve with my friend Lauren who is now in Texas for grad school. We don’t get to see each other that often, but it is always so nice spending some time with her when she’s in town. I was also able to run with my friend Hannes – he’s a beast though and my pace was embarrassing throughout our 5-miler.

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the tree + beer at Ladyface.

My family and I had a low-key Christmas Eve dinner of tamales (our Christmas Eve tradition), homemade rice, and a delicious salad. My brother announced he had a “Christmas Eve gift” for everyone – and he handed us all a couple of scratchers. We all thought it was a great idea – and my Dad won $20!

$20 richer.

$20 richer.

After he won, he goes: “I want to go to Pechanga tomorrow…Or Vegas!” He said both of these things half-jokingly…but then we thought about it…and everyone was really up for the idea of spending Christmas Day in Las Vegas! So we booked a discounted room last minute at The Palazzo and I found tickets for a show. We decided to wake up early on Christmas Day and drive to Vegas. That meant we’d open our presents on Christmas Eve! So we took a little break and did our stockings – I got a lot of great things.

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In lieu of our usual cinnamon bun interlude between stockings and presents, we just took a small break. Everyone gave and received some really thoughtful gifts – I got two amazing coffee table books, a really nice wallet and Longchamp purse, and a few other fun things. My parents know me scarily well.

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We enjoyed our new presents and then prepared for our last-minute decision to have a #VegasChristmas. My brother and I were SO excited. I love Las Vegas – and so does basically everyone in my family. Sure, it’s a little tacky and glitzy, but that’s the charm in it. I love Vegas for it’s ironic fun. Such a fun Christmas surprise.

We got up and were out the door by 8 am, drove to Vegas sans traffic and checked in around 1 at The Palazzo.

mother and son, you know in Vegas for Christmas.

mother and son, you know… in Vegas for Christmas.

On our way to the hotel, I saw lots of ads for all of the DJs that will be in Vegas for NYE. After hearing about one of my friend’s recent experience onstage with Diplo this week, it was all I could do not to squeal at the thought of seeing Kaskade, Afrojack, Steve Angello, deadMau5…or basically anyone in the EDM world from the 28th to the 31st. Not a whole lot of DJs are in town for Christmas…but it was fun to have a more family-centered time in Vegas.

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So while I’d have to keep the DJing to another trip, we did Vegas right. We started with a late-ish lunch at Grand Lux.

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And then set off to explore the strip. My brother has a HUGE obsession with Sublime, so we trekked to the Hard Rock Hotel to check out the Sublime display there. He was in fandom heaven.

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I spotted one of my favorite musicians…well, not really…but I had to take a photo with this cut-out of one of my favorite MTV personalities…DJ PAULY D!

my main man,

my main man. 

I posted this photo to Twitter and tagged @DJPaulyD in it, just for kicks. He ended up re-tweeting it to all 4.2 million of his followers. Immediately, I’ve gotten a whole slew of random followers and tweets. The internet is so awesome – but I love that I sort of had an interaction with Pauly D. #BeatThatBeatUp #FistPumpPushUpChapstick #YAHBUDDY.

We got another set of drinks at that hotel, and then headed to the Bellagio for the fountain show. No trip to Vegas is complete without it!

#VegasChristmas

#VegasChristmas

We had a very nice Christmas dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s place at The Venetian, called Postrio. It was situated in the part of The Venetian designed to feel like it is in St. Mark’s Square. SUCH a fun Christmas dinner.

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Very memorable.

After dinner, we headed to the theater at The Palazzo to see Mannheim Steamroller‘s show. I’ve been a fan of Mannheim Steamroller for as long as I can remember. My mom has one of their CDs and would always used to play it for us at Christmas. I love their electro/synth-y takes on Christmas classics. It was cool to hear their versions of “Deck the Halls” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” live.

That being said, the rest of the show was lackluster at best. It felt like an extremely low-rent production. Video clips from the mid-80s, disjointed circus routines set to slow Christmas songs, and dancers and performers who seemed disinterested. The music was cool, for the most part, but the terrible production values left all of us feeling like the show was pretty bad. I’m still glad we saw a show, though, and I’ve always like Mannheim Steamroller – it just felt like I was seeing an 8th grade production.

We were all pretty exhausted so we headed to bed shortly after (my brother took my usual place as the family booze-hound and indulged in one last beer before calling it a night). We got up this morning and headed home.

I had a delightfully unique Christmas and I hope everyone out there did as well!

What’s your favorite holiday tradition? 

xo

G

thank god it’s jersday.

22 Sep

When I was little, I literally used to go around singing “It’s Friday….Tomorrow!!” on Thursdays. No, it wasn’t a real song, I was always just so stoked for Friday that the weekend, in my opinion, always technically started on Thursdays. Friday is the best day for a lot of reasons – you still have the structure of the work/school week and all of the promise of the weekend. This Thursday…err, Jersday (due to my irrational Jersey Shore obsession…YAH BUDDY) is no different. Here are the highs and lows of my day:

– light and easy workout this morning. I ran to the gym, hopped on the elliptical, did some easy weights and abs, and then ran back.

-ate some bomb vegan pizza and learned all about the politics of food justice during the lunch hour at school. The politics behind feeding the hungry and the homeless is so interesting – but also insanely depressing and discouraging. This statistic stuck with me: in 2006, 8 in 10 downtown LA residents relied on at least one free meal a day. We learned about “guerilla feeders” like Food Not Bombs who work to feed the homeless on skid row.

-became enlightened on the topics of adverse possession and firm offers in, you guessed it, Property and Contracts.

-chatted with some section mates at our bi-weekly “Turf Club.” Free beer and dinner at school? I think I picked the right law school, even if I do have to deal with driving a car in LA. As one of our deans said “your student fees hard at work.” Joke.

-last minute decision to check out the school-sponsored happy hour at the Caña Rum Bar downtown with my friend in Section 4 and some of his pals. $6 mojitos? Why not!  It’s a cool place and is normally “members only” except, I guess, when our law school makes a special deal with them?

source: Caña Rum Bar website

source: Caña Rum Bar website

– now I’m in total vege mode. I’ve got a good amount of class tomorrow and plan to get a lot of stuff done before and after, so I’m taking advantage of a quiet night with my DVR. Things I’m stoked about: the fact that this year, I can watch TV shows THE DAY THEY AIR, and not on a sketch site on my computer a day later, as was the case for the entire 2010-2011 TV season last year in Spain. I know, I know #firstworldproblems, but when you pride yourself on being a pop culture addict, it’s a pretty big deal. Once Grey’s is over I’ll be ALL about the fist pump.

Happy Jersday!

…What’s your favorite day of the week? orrrr how are you celebrating Jersday this week?

irrationally obsessed.

4 Sep

I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend! My Saturday started off with a run with the LA Leggers in Santa Monica (4 miles – woo) and then I high-tailed it outta there to the Conejo Valley to spend the majority of the weekend with my family! I was able to get coffee with my old friend from high school, Hayley, at our local Starbucks – it was great to catch up and hear about all of the fun things she’s been up to in the last year (!). I also tried a new Starbucks drink – the Cool Lime Refresher and loved it – even though it’s not a true coffee drink.

I did some other odds and ends – the most exciting of which was getting new running shoes at Future Track. I am SO happy I got to ditch my moon-shoe Brooks for sleeker and lighter Aasics (but still super sturdy to compensate for my pronation issues – rough life). At least I won’t feel like such a newb out there with 2 lb. running shoes. The coolest thing about going to Future Track, though, was seeing a plaque my XC team gave to the store (who supported us big-time) after we made it to Nike Team Nationals my senior year. Yes, I know it was 6 years ago, but it was still one of the coolest things ever, and seeing that plaque was pretty awesome.

And now, to the title of this blog post. I have a BUNCH of weird obsessions…some of which may be entirely irrational. Here are the current ones:

This song:

I’m hyper-sensitive to racial issues for some reason and I’m not totally comfortable with the title of this song, but I’m overlooking it for the sole reason that it is incredibly addicting. The whole album is great, though, let’s be real.

and this song:

architect Frank Gehry. Especially love the fact I get to see his works SO often in DTLA.

Walt Disney Concert Hall - DTLA

campus.

Guggenheim in Bilbao (January 2011).

gehry's "fred and ginger" in prague, czech republic (April 2009).

this child prodigy

these state pillows. want.

source: uncommongoods.com

the message behind this children’s book

my current alarm clock (not a joke):

and of course – coffee. Totally using law school as an excuse to have it at least 2x a day.

love.

Note: I didn’t include a photo of an IPA or the city of Barcelona because, well, that would just be redundant.

Do we have any irrational obsessions in common? What’s your funkiest obsession?

weekend update.

29 Aug

So I’m officially a law student now and it’s been great so far – I’m really enjoying the reading and classes (#nerdalert I know) but my days have noticeably filled up so my blog posts have been sporadic and frankly boring. I’m going to try and do some more flavorful posts, but in the meantime here’s a re-cap of some non-school-related antics I’ve been up to lately:

Friday dinner at Cuvée with my friends Jenn, Whitney, Caroline, and Dom:

This place was adorable – we sat outside on a terrace with twinkle lights and made friends with another table’s dog named Winston. (I even put aside my general ambivalence toward animals and showed him some love. Baby steps!) The food was delicious – especially the bread with EVOO and pesto combo that came out at the beginning. My hamburger was good and hit the spot after my first long week of class. I will say, however, that it doesn’t hold a candle to the burger I had last two weeks ago at Father’s Office.

not an IPA but this Pilsner will do.

my grilled kobe beef burger w/ sautéed mushrooms, carmelized onions, white cheddar cheese.

caroline's grilled chicken breast w/ gouda cheese, guac, and salsa.

Saturday night was my best friend Whitney’s little sister’s 21st birthday! We celebrated at Whitney and Caroline’s apartment with a delicious dinner cooked by the hostesses, Moscow Mules, and a fun night out after midnight when Emma officially hit 2-1 at Winston’s on Santa Monica. Successful 21st. Yesss.

amazing crostinis.

[You can read the recipe for the crostinis on Caroline’s blog, here]

moscow mule in an adorable mason jar.

documenting the night.

And finally, Sunday brought two of my favorite things together: Jersey Shore and Sunday Dinner! Let’s just say when Jersday comes twice a week I’m not complaining. Jenn, Whitney, Matty, and I concocted a funky salad and a chicken and thai curry dish – it was delicious. Jenn hooked it up with her fav dessert – funfetti cupcakes…and then we indulged on the Jersey Shore (Mike intentionally throwing his head into a cement wall? Not exactly “twinning” but EPIC TV that’s for sure) and then the VMAs.

hard at work.

whitney is hungry...

bomb din.

I’ve been an MTV fan since I was far too young to be watching the show. I made the outlandish claim last night that Jersey Shore has “changed American culture and the American lexicon,” I haven’t missed a season of the Real World since Hawaii, and TRL was my after-school mainstay growing up. I’ll always remember how epic the 9.9.99 VMAs were and Kanye’s crazy performance last year. Last night’s show was, in one word, lackluster. The best performance of the night wasn’t Kanye + Jay-Z (although it should have been) – it was Chris Brown, who has still hasn’t technically lived down his criminal behavior from a few years back. Lady Gaga was weird, Beyoncé is pregnant (that baby is going to have some serious swag, as Whitney proclaimed), and Katy Perry tried to do the Gaga thing and dress funkily. While I love MTV, I am crossing my fingers they get their groove back for 2012.

things that would have made the show better: letting him host.

What did everyone else think about the VMAs?