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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? 

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!

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!
 

weekend recap [with text this time].

30 Apr

I lieu of working out for a second time today (I have a half marathon on Sunday…I realized two-a-days are a recipe for an injury), I decided to actually recap my weekend.

On Friday, my externship at the U.S. District Court – Central District of California (Judge Klausner) came to an end. We had a great last day – Ben and I concocted some pretty clever thank you notes for the clerks, and we went to a great last lunch with our clerk Tiffany at Spring Street Smokehouse. [Sidenote: Spring Street Smokehouse is my second favorite place I discovered during the four-month externship. My favorite is Little Tokyo’s The Sandwich Smith].

We finished up some last assignments, had our formal reviews, and said goodbye to the Judge and his staff.

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. . . and we took photos in the courtroom. Sitting on the witness stand was pretty cool.

extern fam.

extern fam.

I may actually miss these guys.

taylor, me, ben, and our clerk Tiffany.

taylor, me, ben, and our clerk Tiffany.

After work, we celebrated with a little happy hour action at Más Malo.

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On Saturday, I ran a little over 4 miles with the DTLA running group, ran some errands in DTLA’s Jewelry district (read: I shattered the crystal on my watch on Thursday…luckily Sam’s Jewelry and Watch Repair got it fixed in two days for $35). After some errands, I headed out to Glendale to my roommate Jenn’s parent’s house where she was hosting a surprise birthday party for her boyfriend, Daniel. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and we all had a lot of fun drinking beer, dominating at beer pong, and playing a little corn hole.

the surprise in action.

the surprise in action.

daniel and jenn.

daniel and jenn.

#PaleoBurger

#PaleoBurger

My parents met me downtown for dinner – we went to a place I’ve been wanting to try called Industriel, which bills itself as Urban French Farm cuisine. Everything we had was innovative, interesting, and we licked our plates clean. We had a charred romaine hearts, a kale salad, a poached egg, and the sea bass.

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My parents also dropped off this console table I am obsessed with it. I have a walkway between my new room and my bathroom that had room for a little table. My mom found this on Craigslist – but it was sold…#sadface. Using the powers of the internet, she found it elsewhere online, had it shipped, and brought it to me. Awesome mom award goes to…my mom. I am going to pay her back though. I’m not that spoiled.

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Love this Moroccan/Spanish inspired piece. I am going to change the photos I have up top, I think…but right now I have some of my favorite Spanish artwork (Velazquez’s Las Meninas and Picasso’s versions of them).

On Sunday morning, I headed to West LA for a special group exercise class I was invited to, being put on by Fitist at Elliptifit. Elliptifit is like spin class – but on ellipticals. As a spin-o-phile, I was anxious to see if I would feel similarly about Elliptifit.

I used to be a big-time elliptical user when I first started going to the gym. Now, I don’t use it very often – it’s not as fun or as effective for me as running or spinning. The 45-minute class sped by. The instructor, Annette, was very energetic and she had great music, but the workout itself wasn’t something I was completely enamored with.

It was definitely more intense than if I had been doing an elliptical workout by myself. She told us when to sprint and when to climb, and what our resistance and ramp should be. We also did some isolated outer and inner thigh movements, as well as some arm work using the handrails. In 45 minutes, I covered 3.75 miles and burned over 500 calories. I felt like I worked out, broke a sweat, but since it was low impact it wasn’t too taxing.

I enjoyed the new workout, but thankfully (for my wallet) I don’t think a new obsession was born.

Since my externship ended, I am now in “finals mode.” Except I only have one final, and it’s two weeks away. That means plenty of time for being lazy…and working out a lot.

Yesterday I took my friend Colleen to her first yoga class (ever) at YAS – and today I met up with my friend Armita there for a little lunch time spin. My arms and shoulders are feeling all of those chaturangas today. Speaking of spin, I’m making progress on my fundraiser for YAS-A-Thon. You can donate here, if you’re so inclined.

Random question for any/all bloggers out there. That’s G is coming up on its 4th Birthday (seriously – whoa). I’m contemplating making a Facebook page and wanted to hear if you guys have any tips/tricks/suggestions for growing your blogs!

three birthdays.

10 Sep

Hi blog friends. First things first – before I get into the my weekend recap – you all must drop everything you are doing and listen to the Purity Ring – Shrines album. It is incredible. My friend Armita leant it to me on a Thursday. By Sunday afternoon when I gave it back, I probably had listened to the entire thing through 30 times. So. good.

In other news – this was the weekend of birthdays. On Friday, after I spent a few hours at the library. After that, though, I met up with a few friends to celebrate my friend Bryan’s birthday at Stout in Hollywood for Happy Hour.

I had a “Hopulent IPA” which I didn’t love. It was really foamy and light. I like my IPAs, you know, Hoppy. I feasted on delicious appetizers (onion rings, pretzel, sweet potato fries) and indulged in the “goombah” burger. While the food was delicious, I was underwhelmed by the service – it took us forever to get waited on and even then the service was mediocre.

Later that night, Bryan had a bunch of friends over for drinks + cake (courtesy of my roommate, Jenn). It was fun catching up with people – especially Bryan’s little sister, Rachel.

On Saturday morning, I kicked things off with a 12 mile run down Wilshire into West LA. It was HOT but I felt good – except when my wristband portion of my Garmin snapped off at mile 7.5. Sad. Luckily I was able to order a replacement for $15 on Amazon.

On Saturday night, I met up with Aviva, Armita, Taylor, and a bunch of our section friends for our friend Marty’s birthday dinner at Gyu-Kaku on La Cienega. I’d never been there before, but I loved the hands-on Japanese BBQ experience. The Garlic Shrimp Noodles were BOMB and I tried some fun stuff. I even tried cow tongue! (Verdict? Kinda tough, not that flavorful). The best part were the marshmallow-roasting at the end to make S’mores. Oh, and the $5 pitchers of beer.

On Sunday, after a workout and some library-raging, I headed home for my Dad’s birthday. First was a stop at Future Track, my favorite running store to stock up on some gels and to get new shoes – Brooks Addiction 9s. They’re like my old faithful of running shoes.

As I was leaving Future Track, I noticed this on the wall – a plaque we made for one of our coaches, Coach Rios, after the girls’ team went to Nationals in Portland my senior year. #dreamteam2005.

My dad’s birthday was low-key – we had a nice dinner at home and then did the annual trip to Baskin Robbins (no joke that’s what he asked for). I got him a framed photo from his marathon in March taken during the very small portion I ran with him.

 

That about sums up the weekend! Here’s last week’s workouts:

  • Monday: OFF
  • Tuesday: 3 mile run, Abs class, Functional Fitness class (new obsession)
  • Wednesday: 6 mile run (outside, AM)
  • Thursday: 3 mile run, functional fitness class
  • Friday: OFF
  • Saturday: 12 mile run
  • Sunday: 60 min. Spin class

Hope you all have fabulous weeks!

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

(source)

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?

american summer.

11 Aug

So I finished my externship last Friday, and this week featured an assortment of on-campus interviews with various firms for next summer. It was a combination of exciting, interesting, and exhausting. I’m glad I went through the process, and am hopeful about what next summer might bring job-wise, but absolutely everything is still up in the air at this point. #LawSchool Problems.

When I wasn’t wearing a suit in DTLA in 90 degree weather this week, I was busy doing some American past times… Like appreciating the intersection of street art and social media:

LA street art.

And watching my Dodgers beat the Rockies 6-4 (from FREE tickets courtesy of 76 gas) with my Dad and brother…

viva los doyers.

no clue why Reid is wearing orange.

Finally, on Thursday night Aviva and Armita and I decided to try a new restaurant. We recently came across LA Weekly‘s List of the 10 Best Pizza Places in LA. I’ve been to 800 Degrees, Mozza, and Urbano which make the list – and I am eager to check more off the list.

A few things about Sotto: this place is TRENDY. I don’t pretend to know a thing about cars (and I don’t care about them) but the line of cars pulling into valet for this place was the pinnacle of bougie. That being said, the inside decor was rustic and casual. The three of us were in shorts, tanks, and varying degrees of casual footwear and were only mildly under-dressed.

Sotto ranked #1 on LA Weekly’s list so I was beyond eager to try it.

We got some bread and olive oil to start, and then shared 2 pizzas three ways (plenty of food – we had a couple slices left over). We ordered the Estiva {olive pesto, sungold tomatoes, mozzarella, arugula} and the Calabrese {tomato, broccoli di ciccio, dry-cured olives, Calabrian chilies}  + no cheese. Both were delicious, but I probably preferred the Calabrese since it had a nice little kick to it, thanks to the Calabrian chilies.

While we all really liked the pizza, none us were convinced it was the best pizza in LA. I liked the crust – crispy on the outside but super doughy on the inside – and I liked the vibe at Sotto a lot better than it’s main cross-town rival, Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali’s Pizzeria Mozza.

When I read the LA Weekly article, I was surprised to learn that the people behind Sotto hail from Pizzeria Ortica – a place I discovered over two years ago with my mom and Whitney. (Careful, that blog post is B.C.P.E. – Before Common Picture Era, aka before I knew what I was doing). That place was stellar so it made sense Sotto was delicious!

I’d go back to Sotto but I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it – it’s not super close to where I live and we had to wait about 40 min. on a Thursday.

I posted a photo on Facebook and people chimed in with places to visit: Wildflower, Stella Rosa, Abbot’s Pizza, Vito’s, Tomato Pie, and Masa were all thrown out there.

My fellow LA folk – who makes your favorite pizza? Slash what should I add to this list?

Everyone else: NY style or Chicago style pizza? (or any other type…)