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red, white, and brews.

7 Jul

I hope everyone had an epic 4th of July! I went down to Huntington Beach for the day for some patriotic festivities.  I actually got down to HB late Wednesday, crashed at my friend Riley’s, and then got up early on the 4th to run the local Surf City 5K with my best friend Whitney, Riley, and our friend Travis.

IMG_4113The race was pretty relaxed.  I did the same race 4 years ago in 23:11.  My knee had been really bugging me earlier in the week, so I just wanted to run relaxed and have fun.  I didn’t bring my watch and ran it by feel.


before Travis passed me victoriously!


Travis and I ended up finishing together – just one second apart! I clocked in at 23:34 and felt good.  Not like I raced it really, more like a comfortably hard tempo run. I love the course (down Main, right on PCH and back). It’s a fun tradition to run a race every year. Check out last year’s recap of the Will Rogers 10k, and 2011’s 10k in Ventura.


had to sport my new 4th of July compression socks.

After the race, we headed back to Riley’s apartment where we ate like patriotic kings, and began to celebrate.


As people trickled in, we did the typical annoying American thing of playing drinking games.  You know, general USA tomfoolery.



We also trekked a couple of blocks down to the beach. A few took naps, and the rest of us spent some time in the ocean. The water was so nice and it was truly great to be in the water. 600481_10100099445682209_1188898633_n


We headed back, ordered pizza, hung out, and enjoyed the holiday.

I headed back to DTLA around 8:30. It was a shame to miss HB’s awesome fireworks show, but I had work Friday and wanted to beat traffic. #SoCalProblems.  I managed to see about 10 different fireworks shows though, so that was great.

What’s your favorite 4th tradition?

Mine is running a race of some kind, and you know, booze. 

an epic weekend.

6 May

This was an amazing weekend.

As you probably know from my Instagram or Twitter…I spent a lot of last week studying for my Evidence final. Buttt since it’s not until May 13, I could afford to take this weekend off from studying completely.



On Thursday night, I joined my running group for a 7 miler downtown. It was pretty hilly, but also gorgeous.

new fav LA spot. (on my run)

new fav LA spot. (on my run)

piece of BCN in DTLA.

piece of BCN in DTLA.

On Friday, my college friend/sorority “sister”/study abroader/fellow crazy person Michelle was in town from SF. We met up for a fun afternoon in Santa Monica. I finally put a Lululemon gift card to good use and walked out with something I never would have considered buying in the past…a running skirt! Just call me SR.


Michelle and I took a class at Soul Cycle from my fav instructor – Laura Crago. Michelle had never taken a class at Soul Cycle before and naturally fell in love. She’s counting down until their SF location opens. We showered and then grabbed a bite to eat at Barney’s Beanery. It was so great to catch up!


Later that evening, I grabbed drinks with my parents at Más Malo before they headed home. The recent southern CA fires are near our hometown, so they wanted to wait out traffic.


After I said bye to my parents, I headed out to the valley to meet up with Whitney and our good friend from HS, Hayley, for a drink at the Blue Dog Tavern. I enjoyed an IPA (duh). Hayley lives and works in Fresno, so we don’t get to see her all that often, but she is always so fun to be around when we do get to see her. We were all chatting about how our other friend, Kelsey, had just gotten engaged on Tuesday (!!). And what do you know . . . in walks Kelsey with her fiancé, Drew. Kelsey had seen Hayley’s “check-in” on Facebook, and stopped by to surprise us. It was so nice to see her and Drew and to get the first person account of the proposal. Put that story in the “i love social media” column.

kelsey, me, whitney, and hayley. just realized i'm the odd one out without an "ey" last name.

kelsey, me, whitney, and hayley. just realized i’m the odd one out without an “ey” last name.

taps on taps on taps.

taps on taps on taps.

On Saturday morning, Whitney and I left our respective apartments and met up in Costa Mesa for packet pick up for the OC Half Marathon. I will do a full re-cap of the race, but the trip itself was a lot of fun. After packet pick-up, we checked in at the Marriott Newport Beach. Whitney had fallen into this room  – someone she knew who was running it had booked a room, but after a pulled hamstring forced him to bow out of the race, he offered his room up to her before surrendering it back to the hotel. Well, it turns out we had inherited the “romance package”…meaning champagne for the room…which was on the 15th floor and had a panoramic view of the ocean.

life = joke.

life = joke.


We spent some time lounging in the room. The view was so incredible I felt guilty if I took my eyes off of it for more than 0.4 seconds. We met up with Whitney’s family and walked around Fashion Island, and did a little shopping. I met up with another friend from high school, Sam, for a coffee. It was so great catching up with her as well. We did dinner with Whitney’s family + our friend Riley at Irvine Spectrum’s Wood Ranch (because #paleochallenge).

The race itself was great – and after we celebrated with a little Cinco Day Drinko action. Overall, this was a fantastic weekend. I was so lucky to blend so many different groups of friends throughout the weekend – law school, high school, college. I’ll be back soon with a full race recap.

surf city half.

8 Feb

It all started with a tweet. My buddy Joe (@joecannonballs) recently ran a half marathon with my roommate, Jenn. He told me he was getting antsy and needed to plan a different race, so we both signed up for the Surf City Half. With just a little over 3 weeks to train, my goals for this race were not to PR – but to run a fun, easy race and not injure myself, go out too fast, or do anything crazy. This was Half Marathon #9 for me – so crazy. I knew a PR was not in the cards (there was no way my body would give me a sub 1:40 on such little training), but the course was relatively flat and pretty fast.

I headed down to HB the afternoon after my birthday ragefest. I made it to the Expo the last hour it was open (no packet pick-up morning of), did a little work at a local Starbucks, and met up with my friend Riley who happens to live in a house just a few blocks from the starting line/PCH.


Whitney joined us and we relaxed the night before. I was able to stay in Riley’s spare bedroom (!) which was phenomenal. I woke up at 6:30, made myself a bowl of instant oatmeal and instant coffee I’d picked up at the store the night before, grabbed a banana, got ready, and was out the door by a little after 7. The race didn’t start until 7:45 so I had a little bit of time to hang out at the start.

The race went out in waves based on projected finish time, every 2 minutes. I seeded myself in the 1:50-2 hour group because I wasn’t totally sure what sort of half-mary shape I’d be in. The waves were a little bit weird – I wasn’t able to find Joe at the start – but I didn’t get boxed in or trapped at the start like I normally do.

The course was GORGEOUS. Easily one of my favorite courses. 9+ of the miles have an ocean view. The sky was gorgeous as well. Whitney agreed to spectate which I SO appreciated. She was wearing a neon pink Asics running jacket and was riding a beach cruiser, so she was insanely easy to spot. I spotted her just before mile 2 which gave me a little boost early.


“Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia on repeat, Bingo Players’ “Rattle” and Flo Rida’s “I Cry” got me through the first half. I gu’d at Mile 7 which was pretty key. At the turn-around, I spotted my high school friend, Dani, who works for Lululemon in Newport Beach. She was there cheering. It was so nice to see a familiar face out there!

photo credit: Dani Beck

photo credit: Dani Beck

My favorite one was: Make this mile your bitch.

I spotted Joe right after the turn around (just before mile 8) and yelled his name. That gave me a little boost as well. Joe’s marathon photos are much more epic than mine:



The last 3 miles were sort of…long. I slowed down a little bit after being consistently just under 8 min/mile. I felt fine – my knees started feeling the slightest bit sore – but I was fairly strong through the finish. I saw Whitney again around 11.5 which was SO great. I knew she would be between 11 and 12 and that carried me through.


I crossed the line in 1:45:40. Not close to my PR, but my 3rd fastest 13.1. I’ll take it.

I immediately was pretty sore and limped for a lot of the day – but it was a great race and one I would recommend.

**Edited to add: I am obsessed with the surfboard medals and the fitted, long-sleeve tech Ts we got with our race entry.

What’s your favorite race you’ve ever done?

blake and heather’s wedding.

12 Jan

Last Saturday, January 5th, I had the privilege of attending my friends’ Blake and Heather’s wedding in Huntington Beach, California. It was a fabulous event and beyond blog-worthy!

Blake is one of my best friends from law school. Over the course of the last year, my “law school posse” has become really close. I was so excited when Blake proposed to Heather over a year ago, and it was so fun to hear about the wedding plans over the course of the year. Heather also goes to law school with us, and I’ve also become friends  with her this semester, thanks in part due to our mutual…err…enjoyment of our Law of Sales class.

The law school posse and I headed down to Huntington Beach around noon, after various hair appointments were accomplished. The event was held at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach and the ceremony started around 3. The setting was gorgeous and I loved the flowers. After the ceremony, we all headed outside for a cocktail hour. It was fun catching up with a few of the other people I knew at the wedding!


Literally as this photo was taken, my right elbow knocked my phone and purse that I had rested on the ledge behind me into the plants below. Cool, Gillian. One drink in and you’re already a huge mess. Luckily, this gave Taylor an opportunity to do something manly, so he dug my phone out of the planter.


We chatted, took photos, took in the gorgeous views, and I posted on Instagram.



After a little while and a couple of drinks, we headed into the reception area. The center pieces were gorgeous. We chatted a little bit with the other Loyola kids at our table.


Before dinner, Heather and Blake surprised everyone by having the Trojan marching band perform! It was awesome and really amped everyone up. Even as a Cal Bear, I can say I really enjoyed this…but you won’t get a #FTFO meant non-ironically from me, ever. But I will say my parents’ dragging me to SC games when I was younger allowed me to be pretty familiar with all of the stuff they played. Well, except for the pop songs. I mastered those on my own.


Before dinner, we also all joined B + H on the dance floor for Rihanna’s “We Found Love.” During dinner, we also got to hear Heather’s Dad’s toast, which was incredibly funny. The Maid of Honor’s gave her toast, followed by Best Man, who is Blake’s brother, Ross, who also goes to school with us. It was the right combination of heartfelt and funny. Other traditional wedding festivities took place  – first dance, father/daughter and mother/son dance, bouquet and garter tosses, etc.


photo credit: aviva.

We stole Blake for a little to take a photo with him. It was really so fun being a part of their wedding and celebrating their marriage!


The rest of the night included photos, chatting with a bunch of Blake’s friends from his fraternity, and general revelry. At one point, Armita and I had a 45 minute conversation with one of the bridesmaid’s dads about why his older daughters are having trouble finding husbands. We reassured them that it’s okay that he raised them to be “too independent.” I love weddings.


I refused to dance until I heard “my” sort of music. Give me a little bit of house and #gameover. At one point, when I heard Kanye and Jay-Z’s “Paris” I obviously ran to the dance floor. Some things never change.


The next morning, Armita and I got up earlllllly and grabbed breakfast at the little coffee shop/grocery store on site, the Surf City Grocers. The women working there were unbelievably friendly and upbeat – I’d go back just for their service!


We spent about 90 minutes walking around HB and soaking in the views, and of course, re-capping the night.


We headed back to LA around 9:30 and I spent the rest of the day getting ready to start my externship (more on that later).

Heather and Blake’s wedding was so much fun and I am so happy for them! This one will be hard to top 🙂

2012 remixed.

31 Dec

If you haven’t been able to tell by reading this blog, I love traditions. One thing I have done on this blog for awhile now is to recap my year via songs. [Check out 2010 and 2011 here!] I love music and I think it’s a great way to reminisce on the past year – plus I like re-reading these posts to remember everything that happened in that year! Before you check out my 2012 song selections, you should listen to DJ Earworm’s 2012 mash-up. Here’s mine:

January – Calvin Harris Feel So Close

I picked this song because it reminds me of the best winter break ever – where I checked out a ton of new restaurants, went on a bunch of LA hikes, went out, and explored LA. In January I also started second semester and reunited with some of my favorite AXOs,  celebrated my birthday with a dinner + drinks, and ran a half-marathon with one of my best law school friends, Blake, at the Rose Bowl, and battled running injuries off and on.

loving LA.

loving LA.

i'm not that old but i'm not that young.

i’m not that old but i’m not that young.

February  – Big Sean f/ Nicki Minaj – Dance

In February, I met my first real blog friend in person (Katherine of Left Coast Contessa). I also became re-obsessed with spin (indoor cycling) after almost a YEAR away and spent more time in the gym. Other than that, February was a pretty low-key month. I was briefly obsessed with this song due to the part when Nicki Minaj says “Islands of Waikikiiiiiiiiii.” I annoyed everyone repeating that for a few weeks.

view from my gym's parking lot.

view from my gym’s parking lot.

March – Flo Rida f/ Sia – Wild Ones

In March, I took a torts midterm, headed to Palm Springs with Whitney, Matt, and Jenn, and was able to fight off a knee injury to run three miles with my Dad during his marathon. During March I also went to my first Kings game, headed home to celebrate my brother’s 21st birthday, and studied a good amount.


palm springs bound.

palm springs bound.

April – Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know (FatRat remix)

April was a pretty intense school month – I had a lot of assignments due and geared up for finals. I had a beach day with my law school bests, went to a couple of comedy shows, had an oral argument, and lived vicariously through my parents’ trip to Vegas. I also did the She Runs LA 10k, tried Pure Barre, and did  The Color Run with my friend Riley. At the end of the month I went to a  Bruce Springsteen concert!

blake, armita, me, and taylor all pretending we like each other. (aviva was our photographer.)

blake, armita, me, and taylor all pretending we like each other. (aviva was our photographer.)

post she runs la 10k.

post she runs la 10k.

post color run.

post color run.

baby we were born to run.

baby we were born to run.

May – The Naked & Famous – Young Blood (Tiësto & Hardwell Remix)

Like any month where finals occur, the majority of it is spent studying. I spent the first 2+ weeks studying for and taking my finals, punctuated by small study breaks with my law school budz – like the time we celebrated Cinco Day Drinko instead of studying for Torts. In May I officially FINISHED 1L buttttt then immediately spent a week on the write-on competition to join a law review or a journal.  I finally kick-started summer with kayaking with my mom, a hike with Taylor, and some solid vedge-time. I also discovered my love for SoulCycle in May.

Cinco Day Drinko

Cinco Day Drinko

law school bests celebrating the end of the year.

law school bests celebrating the end of the year.

kayaking in Ventura.

kayaking in Ventura.

it was love.

it was love.

June – Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe Mash-ups (Call Me Greyhound – Swedish House Mafia + Call Me Maybe v. 99 Problems)

June was officially summer. I kicked it off with a short trip to SD  with Jenn where I PR’d in the half-marathon (1:38:55), began my externship at the criminal courts building, did a little paddle boarding  (I still have a bruise on my hip),went to Dodger games, hiked, and spent a weekend in SF where Whitney, Kathleen, and I created the “cerveza cycle.”





my buddy/co-extern aaron and me.

my buddy/co-extern aaron and me.



...and drinking.

…and drinking.

July – Kirko Bangz “Drink in my Cup”

July started off with a bang with a Fourth of July 10k in the Palisades, followed up with a little rage-fest with my section budz. I also discovered electronic musician Sahy Uhns, celebrated my blog’s third birthday, and saw The Producers at The Hollywood Bowl.



sahy uhns.

sahy uhns.


August – Kanye West f/ Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz “Mercy” 

In August, I saw The Hood Internet perform live, was inspired by various Olympic endeavors + caught up with friends from home, wrapped up my externship, went through On Campus Interviewing at Loyola, and traveled to Orange County with my mom for a few days where we saw Pageant of the Masters, paddle-boarded, and soaked up the sun. I also missed a one-night stint in Vegas due to a sudden onslaught of an illness, serving as a reminder that sometimes I need to listen to my body. I also celebrated Aviva’s birthday on the Sunset Strip and went back to school as a 2L.

The Hood Internet!

The Hood Internet!

paddle-boarding in Newport.

paddle-boarding in Newport.

September – Psy “Gangam Style”

In September, I ran my high school’s annual pancake breakfast race, hit up the SC/Cal game, and went to Monterey for my friend Angela’s wedding. I also started going to Trivia night at Barney’s Beanery in WeHO. When I wasn’t gallivanting around, I was busy with my course-load (Con Law, Law of Sales, Torts II, and Ethical Lawyering) as well as my extra-curricular activities of the Entertainment Law Review and the Wilhelm C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration team. #phew

OPXC alumni.

OPXC alumni.

in real life, we're friends.

in real life, we’re friends.

angela + adrian.

angela + adrian.

October – Adrian Lux “Teenage Crime” 

In October, I continued the trivia night tradition, played tourist in Hollywood, spent a weekend in San Francisco for the Nike Women’s 13.1, celebrated my friend Blake’s birthday in Manhattan Beach, and saw Adrian Lux perform live at the Exchange in DTLA. All in all, a fantastic month.



blake's b-day.

blake’s b-day.

we don't waste no precious time.

we don’t waste no precious time.

November – Zedd “Clarity” oh…and Morgan Page f/ Greg Laswell – Addicted 

I hit up another SC game (this time v. Oregon), saw Book of Mormon, and visited my parents at the newsroom of the Los Angeles Times on election night! I also ran two 5ks – the ‘Stache Dash in Costa Mesa with my roommate and her boyfriend, and the Conejo Valley Turkey Day Trot at Cal Lutheran University with my running buddy Hannes on Thanksgiving morning. I also enjoyed a long weekend at home for Thanksgiving that was punctuated by our annual “Blackout Wednesday” tradition.

jenn and me post-race.

jenn and me post-race.



happy Blackout Wednesday!

happy Blackout Wednesday!

December – I couldn’t pick just one: f/ Britney Spears “Scream & Shout” AND Bingo Players + Flo Rida “I Cry

I spent the overwhelming majority of December studying and taking finals. I finished on December 14th and then celebrated in Manhattan Beach. Celebrations continued with Loyola Bar Review, the Santa Monica Pub Crawl, and my friend’s Hawaiian Christmas party. My family and I spent Christmas Day in Las Vegas (#VegasChristmas) and the very last week of December has been soul(cycle)-filled.

christmas in the library.

christmas in the library.

loyola bar review.

loyola bar review.

SANTA Monica Pub Crawl.

SANTA Monica Pub Crawl.



I hope everyone has an exciting and fun NYE celebration and an even better jump-start to 2013! I’ll be posting my goals and resolutions for the new year tomorrow.

What was YOUR favorite song from 2012?

‘stache dash 5k. [race recap]

18 Nov

This morning featured my first 5k in almost a year…but also my first of two 5ks this week (Turkey Trot, duh)!

A couple of weeks ago, my roommate Jenn realized she needed to do a 5k this week as part of her training plan for her very first half-marathon. I eagerly agreed to run one too. Jenn found the ‘Stache Dash taking place this morning in Costa Mesa. I like the fact it supported prostate cancer, and No-shave November/Movember is all the rage right now. And we all know how I feel about trends…

The race fee was a little on the heftier side – $40 or so – but the funds went to a good cause. We also got a decent swag bag, super comfy shirt, and a medal with our entry. The post-race expo had sliders which I opted out of. I didn’t think anyone would crave a hamburger after racing 3.1 miles, but the line was no joke. Oh, America.

We got to the check-in about 8 for an 8:30 start, picked up our bibs and shirts and our $3.00 glitter moustaches (mine fell off before the start…sad) and headed to the line.

The course was pretty nice – it started near Estancia High School in Costa Mesa and wound through a nearby park. I am SO out of 5k shape I had no idea what to expect. So of course, that meant a 6:43 first mile (granted it was mostly downhill). Second mile was relatively flat, but I realized I am not in sub-21 5k territory, so I clocked a 7:37. I also jammed out to the Lady Gaga/Zedd collab “Stache” (Princess High Stache Remix). I appreciated the ironic reference/play on words. I did not appreciate, however, the girl in the Spider-Man costume passing me, or my inability to get a grip on my breathing. The Starbucks spinach and egg-white wrap I had for breakfast was also a bad call – apparently I forgot the adage “NEVER do anything new on race day.” Obviously should have had oatmeal.

Mile 3 was mostly uphill so my time reflected that – 8:15. Ouch. We were re-tracing our steps, so I was paying for that sweet downhill on the way back. I sort of gave up mentally in the third mile, but I managed to pass a couple of dudes in the final 0.1.

Final time? 23:07. 2nd in my age group, and 4th woman overall. I found it more than mildly ironic that the woman who edged me off the podium is from Corona del Mar. Hah. [They were our #1 rivals in HS Cross Country. My senior year, they were the #1 fastest team in the state. We were the 2nd.]

Jenn had a great race! This was her first 5k ever, and she clocked in a time of 28:53! So proud. Her goal was to break 30 and do it without stopping. #crushedit. Her boyfriend, Daniel, also ran his first 5k today, finishing in about 36 minutes.

jenn and me post-race.

daniel’s friend matt (total beast in 21 something), daniel, jenn, and me. excuse the sorority pose. clearly i am missing more than a few brain cells.

Top 10 things this race made me realize:

10. I am not in 5k shape. Or anywhere close to it.

9. I am still physically capable of breaking 8 minutes for a mile. I am also still physically capable of breaking 7 minutes/mile.

8. I am still completely aware of the fact that I go out too fast, and that I know I will do it before a race. Not only that, I vocalize the high probability that I will go out too fast, vow to be slower than 7:30 and still can’t keep it together.

7. I’m not bitter I was the 4th woman overall. They gave the top finishers Sprinkles Cupcakes. Cupcakes are dumb. Runners want medals, not overly decadent desserts.

6. The worst people at races are ALWAYS the people announcing awards who think they are the next Rick Dees. Nope, sir, you are not.

5. I love the running culture and seeing people set goals, destroy their goal times, and revel in their accomplishment.

4. It’s possible to still do okay even after getting a terrible night sleep due to the “DJ”-hosted party our upstairs neighbors threw last night. (DJ is in quotes because I am not sure any self-respecting DJ would indulge the hosts in multiple Ke$ha tracks. Well at least not any DJs I know).

3.  My Garmin still remains the greatest running investment, ever.

2. I need to get my head back in the running game, and you know, run smart. And train.

1. This was a fun event – and even small, last minute, non-nerve-wracking races are still fun and should feel like an accomplishment.
Did anyone else race this weekend? 

Has ANYONE solved the “going out too fast” problem??

the real orange county.

13 Aug

So I go back to school in precisely one week. In order to celebrate the end of summer, my mom and I decided to spend two nights away. We wrestled with where to go – our requirements were being near a body of water, ability to do some sort of fun exercise, and somewhere sunny. We landed on Newport Beach. I’ve spent a tiny amount of time in Orange County over the years but have never really felt like I “know” it, so we planned a fun itinerary and drove on Saturday afternoon out to the Fairmont Newport.

You can read my not so lovey-dovey Yelp review, but basically this place was super nice looking, and all of the facilities were top-notch, but the service ranged from really bad to lackluster at best. I think it is really annoying that we had to pay for parking, and that the parking was valet-only. Valet parking is nice in theory, but when you can see your car in the parking lot and can’t go get it yourself, it is super obnoxious. We made the less than stellar hotel work, though. When we checked in, we were told our room wasn’t ready, so we hit the 3rd floor deck pool area for some lounging and booze.

pool lounging.

Once we were finally able to get to our room, we got ready and headed back out to Laguna Beach. I have been a little bit obsessed with Laguna Beach since the MTV show by the same name made a name for the coastal community going on 10 years ago. I was always team LC…and let’s just say, some obsessions die hard.

so the LC obsession is still a thing.

We were in Laguna to see the Pageant of the Masters – a live “tableau viviant.” We struggled to find parking big-time, but ended parking at the high school (hence this photo). We hustled to find a quick dinner and ended up at Hennessey’s – a local bar with decent bar fare. I had a beer and enjoyed a burger topped with BBQ sauce and an onion ring. Not exactly award winning, but delicious.

merlot + pacifico.

When we got to the Pageant, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have heard about this for years, and my interest was re-invigorated when I read that SR was there last week. It sounded dorky at first but ended up being awesome.

The whole show was narrated and there was a live orchestra which kept it interesting since it wasn’t like there were actors or singers. My favorite piece was Velazquez’ “Las Meninas” – a painting I fell in love with in Madrid, and fell harder when I saw Picasso’s renditions in Barcelona. LOVE when the Spain obsession pops up unexpectedly :).

There was a whole range of paintings – from Vermeer and Seurat, to sculptural works, and some by Norman Rockwell. The theme was “Genius” which was cool – and they featured a segment of astronomy and the Griffith Observatory. They also featured a statue that was a Titanic Memorial. They introduced the segment with photos and newspaper headlines from the Titanic, leading me to lean over to my mom and whisper “not sure this fits in the ‘Genius’ category.” Critiques aside, it was a really cool show and experience and I’d go back for sure (as long as the couple directly next to me who were drunkenly making out the entire first act decide to stay home).


Seurat at Pageant of the Masters


We headed back to Newport that night to get up bright and early for a stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) lesson at the Newport Aquatic Center. I’d tried it once before in Malibu, but heavy winds left me pretty banged up.  My mom arranged for us to take a lesson, and our instructor, Maya, couldn’t have been nicer. The water was super calm so it was relatively easy. The tips Maya gave us though were helpful (keep both arms SUPER straight the whole time, how to turn, etc).

I loved it and need to get back out on a board ASAP.

After our boarding experience, we figured out how to avoid dealing with valet at the hotel by utilizing street parking a block or so away. Next up was lunch and shopping at Fashion Island. We dined at True Food Kitchen – an eclectic blend of multi-cultural cuisine and real foods. I sipped on a honey lemonade (my mom opted for a watermelon soda but didn’t love it). We split a carmelized onion tart (with black fig + gorgonzola) and I had a chicken chopped salad.

I loved the place and the outdoor seating – so happy to see they have a Santa Monica location!

We shopped a bit (I scored two shirts at a boutique), we walked through Corona del Mar (our cross-country arch-rivals), and then we headed back to the hotel. Our room was yet to be made up (a little before 5) so we hung out in the lobby and to our surprise the Men’s Olympic marathon was on. So bummed to hear about Ryan Hall (representing the CA Southern Section!) but Meb (and the three leaders) ran amazing races.

My mom and I headed to Sol Cocina in Newport for dinner and margs, and then returned to the hotel to catch the closing ceremonies. I didn’t love them. Not sure why half of the people were there, there was no uniformity or theme, the athletes looked tired (rightfully so) and bored (less okay). The coolest part was the transition to Rio – 2016 will be epic. I’m sort of sad the Olympics are over, but hoping to carry that athletic spirit with me for longer than the Olympics lasted 🙂

This morning, we headed to Crystal Cove for brunch. Crystal Cove is actually a State Park – and an obsession of my parents’. I was happy to get to see it – but definitely need to come back sometime for happy hour when they raise the martini flag, a tradition that extends back to the 1930s!

After brunch at the Beachcomber, we took a leisurely drive back home up PCH. It took forever but we loved seeing the ocean and getting better acquainted with some of the beach cities. All in all, it was an excellent mini-vacation!

Favorite thing to do in Orange County?