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WEST weekend.

15 Apr

Hi everyone!  Just wanted to share some highlights from last weekend.  You may have seen me hashtagging some photos #WESTWeekend.  My best friend (Whitney) has a hyphenated last name, and her initials are WEST.  The weekend was named in her honor because her two college best friends (Dominique and Riley) and I kidnapped her for a night and we spent a night in San Diego. It was so much fun!

Whitney thought she and Riley were spending the day together in Orange County.  Dominique and I met up with them at their favorite little bar in Orange, CA near where they all went to college at Chapman.  Whitney was so surprised — she almost cried!

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Whitney, Dominique, Riley, and me behind the bar at O’s. Please don’t mind my entire arm of bracelets.

We had a drink at O’s and some really intense purple shooter and then headed to begin the weekend!

Our first stop was Stone Brewery in Escondido.  I had been wanting to check this place out since my IPA obsession began.  It was PACKED but we scored a table near the outside bar.

I did a flight of 5 different beers

  1. Stone Ruination IPA Wildflower Honey & Carolina Reaper Peppers (SO peppery I couldn’t drink it). 
  2. Cali-Belgique
  3. Go To IPA –> my fav
  4. Grapefruit Slam IPA –> second fav 
  5. Stone IPA –> a classic 
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alright alright alright.

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It was so fun incessantly quoting lines from #SELFIE relaxing and catching up with these girls! [Side-note: Riley recently got engaged (!) and I hadn’t seen her since, so it was also fun to celebrate her this weekend!]

Of course I had to commemorate the trip with a candle.  Don’t worry — it’s pomegranate scented.

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We drove to DT SD and made a pit-stop at Ralph’s before checking into our hotel for some supplies (read: Chex Mix and tequila).  Everyone’s goal was to “drink like college.” Well, that’s a lie, my goal was NOT to do that.  There’s no way I can do that anymore. #old.

We got ready and goofed around a little and mostly took some selfies.

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…and headed out for a late dinner and drinks.  We explored The Gaslamp and noshed at Las Hadas.  The service was great and we all enjoyed the food.

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After dinner, we bumped around at various bars (amidst a gaggle of bachelorette parties).  The first place we ended up at (The Reef?) lured us in with it’s $2 beer specials and overly friendly security guard.  He personally escorted us to the next bar — sweet of him, but not our scene.

We ended up at Barley Mash. I have no clue whether or not this place is “cool” or not but we had a good time.  Things that were awesome:

  • not having to wait in line due to some friends we met outside.  Shout out to the guys in town for the Padres/Tigers game who let us stand with them.
  • early 2000s hip hop music. (To the windows! To the wall!)
  • #SELFIE and Drunk in Love being played.  That’s all I need.

I drank the least, but somehow ended up being the biggest mess at the end of the night. #sweatmonster.

The next morning, I woke up at 8 and squeezed in a super short run before everyone else was up and about.  I headed out from our hotel for an out and back along the marina.

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I enjoyed checking out the “Unconditional Surrender” statute and seeing so many people out on a Sunday morning! 10009797_10103007353745793_9005841076905657600_n

 

We caffeinated and hydrated and then headed up to La Jolla for brunch before we got on the road.  I enjoyed my challah french toast at Nosh.

It was a great 24 hours and we accomplished our main goal of surprising Whitney with a fun weekend!  I’ve gotten to know Riley and Dominique really well over the years and I always enjoy spending time with them!  I also accomplished my secondary of keeping a secret for more than ten seconds — so that was a victory.

  • Favorite things to do in San Diego?
  • Favorite IPA?
  • SD people What’s Barley Mash’s reputation?

 

 

#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

cerveza cycle 2012.

29 Jun

As I mentioned in a previous post, last weekend Whitney and I road tripped up to SF for a short stint to see friends and check something off our summer bucket list.

When we were hatching our plans earlier in the week about SF, I tweeted at my friend (and former roommate senior year in my sorority house), Kathleen. She graciously invited us to stay with her last minute- and devised a brewpub tour of SF by bike, with help from a website called Pinchit (come to LA, Pinchit)!

We started off the morning by renting bikes at San Francisco Bicycle Rentals. The yelp reviews chided the owner for being unfriendly, but for $5/hour and a whole arsenal of bikes to choose from, I had no complaints. It was pretty funny when he dragged out my bike and then told Whitney he needed to get a smaller one for her. #bigpeopleproblems.

We took off through San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, heading to our first stop – Beach Chalet.

Biking through the park was fun and full of people walking, running, cycling, and basking in the sun. We even stumbled upon a pedal-powered (hippie) music fest.

hippies in the background.

We hit up our first stop – Beach Chalet – which had stunning views of Ocean Beach and was also precariously close to the finish line of the NWM 13.1 I did the last time I was in SF.

Ocean Beach.

We followed Pinchit’s recommendation and EACH ordered a small flight of the different Beach Chalet brews.

beer on beer on beer.

In order we have: the VFW Light, Presidio IPA, Riptide Red, Porter, Hef, and the Pale Ale. I particularly enjoyed the IPA (duh), the Porter, and the light and refreshing Hef. The views of the ocean weren’t hard to take in, either.

cheersing.

After we freaked out the entire restaurant with our mid-day booze-fest (it looked like more beer than it really was, I promise), we headed back to our bikes to Social Kitchen & Brewery, stop #2 on our “cerveza cycle.”

on the way.

Located in the Sunset, this place was quirky but good – and we also ordered food here as well.

one happy camper.

We each opted for the $6 flight again to get as much local flare as we could :).

Social Kitchen & Brewery’s brews.

beer me.

From left to right we have: SKB Pilsner, Beach House Blonde, Ramsgate Rye P.A., Irving St. P.A., The Smell I.P.A., and the Anniversary Brune.

Overall, we liked the beers a lot, but weren’t as impressed with the atmosphere as the other two places we stopped.

Our final stop was in the Haight at Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery. Loved the fun, local vibe at this place.

haters gonna haight.

By this time, we were all sort of tuckered out so we just went with one last beer before hanging out and eventually biking back to the starting point.

so many options…

I selected the “In With the New” IPA and was not let down.

Overall, we had a great time and biked about 8 miles and checked 3 new-to-me places off my beer list! I’d recommend doing something like this the next time you visit San Francisco, or really any bike friendly city! Thanks again to my friend Kathleen for planning this and executing it so seamlessly!

A note about bike safety: First, always wear a helmet. Also, I realize “BUIs” exist and combining biking and drinking is a serious issue. However, my friends and I were safe, drank moderately over 5 hours, took our time, and also imbibed a lot of water.

What’s your favorite way to explore a city?

a short stint in san diego.

4 Jun

This last week was a blend of relaxation, low-key workouts, and a short trip to San Diego for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon on Sunday. As I mentioned earlier this week, my workouts were sort of “blah.” I guess it was foreshadowing that I was ready for Sunday because (spoiler alert) I PR’d.

Here are last week’s workouts:

  • Monday – 7 mi. hike in the Palisades
  • Tuesday – 1 hour Kayak with my mom, weights in the evening
  • Wednesday – SoulCycle
  • Thursday – 4.5 mile run
  • Friday – Yoga at Runyon Canyon, 30 min. on treadmill
  • Saturday – 3 mi pre-race run
  • Sunday – 13.1!

the view from my mat: yoga at Runyon Canyon.

I loved this yoga class – and since it’s donation-based, I’ll try and come a lot. It was nice getting some chaturangas going in the sun!

Other highlights for the week include FINALLY trying often-raved about (double) IPA, Pliny the Elder, at Library Alehouse in SM with Aviva and Armita. It. was. bomb.

Pliny the Elder!

Friday night involved a trip back to Santa Monica for dinner at a new-t0-me place called West 4th & Jane with my usual  law school crew (Aviva, Armita, Taylor, and Blake, plus Blake’s fiancee, Heather!). I was bummed at first because the restaurant claimed they had Estrella beer on tap, but they didn’t when we got there. I lived and got an IPA, and then tasted one of Armita’s beers from her sampler and knew instantly what my second beer would be.

beer 101 for armita and blake.

I had the Smog City Coffee Porter. Espresso and a Dark Beer? Literally my two loves merging. The food was great too, and the company was alright too, I guess…

Friday morning I got up early to log a couple miles before I high-tailed it to SD. I decided to run the RnRSD Half relatively recently when my buddy Blake had to bow out due to a knee injury. I did something that is frowned upon by the race group – and bought his bib – but I probably wouldn’t have done it anyway and I couldn’t let a perfectly good bib go to waste. I booked a local Motel 6 and Jenn agreed to go down to San Diego with me. Since it was a last-minute decision and a super early wake-up call, I knew this would be easier than trying to arrange to stay with anyone.

We left around 10 am Friday and got to San Diego around 12:30. Even managed a pre-check in In-N-Out trip.

Advice for Motel 6 guests: bring your own shampoo and conditioner and arrange to have someone bring you a hot cup of coffee at the race. Oh, and be charming to the check-in guy and he’ll give you a 10% discount.

We headed over to the expo where I met up with Blake and Heather to grab “my” bib. We explored the expo and nabbed some free samples. I heard Deena Kastor was there but didn’t see her.

Jenn and I said bye to Blake and Heather and then explored Downtown San Diego for a bit. I kept my eyes peeled for SkinnyRunner but didn’t see her. Sad.

We eventually met up with Jenn’s friends, Joe and Kate, for dinner.

goat cheese pizza.

I obviously carbo-loaded. We headed back to the hotel early after arranging to carpool to the start tomorrow with Kate and Joe since Joe was also running, and hit the hay early, but obviously not before I went into OCD mode and laid everything out, including my now “lucky” PR shirt. Other things I decided were lucky: this was half-marathon #7. Boom.

my gear.

It ended up being a great race. Full recap to follow, but for now, here’s all you need to know:

Oh, and I started my judicial externship today for a judge in the criminal courts building downtown. It’s gonna be super interesting, that’s for sure!

desert-ed.

13 Mar

Last week was a law student’s long-awaited sanctuary: Spring Break! Ours was slightly modified – we had a midterm on Monday morning, so our “break” was really a Tuesday-Sunday opportunity to unwind a little bit, get caught up on work, and plunge ahead on the next batch of assignments.

While I snuck in some time to eat at a couple great new restaurants, the “anchor” to my Spring Break was a two-night stint with my roommate Jenn and friends Whitney and Matt at Jenn’s family’s house in Palm Desert, CA.

I had been to the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area twice before, but it had been 10 years since my most recent visit. I was eager to re-acquaint myself with it, soak up the sun, and relax a little bit.

Jenn and I headed out on Friday and enjoyed the view along the 10-E. (I’ve heard it’s a so-cal thing to put a “the” before giving the number of a freeway – “the 10” “the 405” “the 101.” Do any of you NOT do this?)

on the 10.

One of the side projects for this trip was to get me my first set of real “business” clothes. I’m going to need a suit if I’m going to do this lawyer thing. Jenn knew I’d have luck at the Banana Republic Outlet at Desert Hills Premium Outlets – and luck was had! Boom.

We got to the desert, had a delicious salad dinner at Las Casuelas in La Qunita. We grabbed some groceries for the weekend and eagerly awaited Matt and Whitney’s post-work arrival.

Saturday morning began with a new vacation tradition I’m starting for myself (stolen from Jenn’s family): vacation cereal! We bought a sinfully good cereal that I’d literally only ever purchase on vacation. Two mornings of waking up to Lucky Charms? So. good.

Jenn, Whitney, and I decided to go on a little run around the complex – but between my knee pain (3 miles is okay, any more than that starts getting pretty brutal), Jenn’s newly developed shin splints, and Whitney’s calf pain from a charlie horse during the night, we were quite a show. Our 4-mile run included lots of walk breaks, but it was still awesome to start the day with a sweat sesh. When we got back, we did a little core work and rewarded ourselves the only way possible:

saturday morning mimosas!

We headed to the local pool and soaked up the sun (we all came back with sunburns, not so awesome. I must have forgotten to put sunscreen on my tummy – fml.)

Later, I conned Whitney into squeezing in a second work-out with me:

walking our way to starbucks, where else?

That night, we opted for a low-key night – we headed to see Friends with Kids. Overall, I really liked it – it was different, witty, funny, but also sentimental. It was revealed that I do indeed have a soul because I full-on cried at one point, and no one else shed a tear. The cast was great, and while the movie wasn’t perfect, I’d recommend it for sure.

We decided to forego a formal dinner in favor of post-movie Apps and Zerts at Yardhouse.

Stone IPA a.k.a. "Old Faithful"

The Apps and Zerts originator himself:

We all fell asleep watching The Hangover (I’m ashamed – I love that movie). After losing an hour, we hustled back to the City of Angels literally so I could get to the library before the week started and hit the gym.

Now, I’m back at school (and the grind). I did take a fabulous spin class today with ALL house music (this song was one of my favs) and did my 4th workout from the New Rules of Lifting for Women. I may be crazy, but I think I already notice some changes.

Random side-note: A Cup of Jo featured this Rainbow Hotel today that just so happens to be in Palm Springs. I want/need to go here ASAP.

Not too much else to report – although I am bummed I won’t be making my 26.2 debut on Sunday, I am SUPER excited for my Dad who will be running his first marathon rain or shine this weekend! He’s trained hard since early fall and I know he’ll have a great time!

Do you do anything special/different when you’re on vacation?