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crafts, córdoba, and crescent pose.

8 Jul

So after my mix of productive (10k) and lazy (pool lounging and margaritas) on the 4th, I was zonked on Thursday, although I did find my little field trip to the Mental Health Courts really interesting. Yay, Psychology! I had a random little day – field trip in the morning, swim workout (!) at lunch time, and then I popped back over to my judge’s chambers for a couple of hours.

Later that night, I met up with Aviva for an event at the Craft and Folk Art Museum on Museum Row on Wilshire’s Miracle Mile. We tapped into our crafty sides for an event put on by Etsy and Mark Montano to make our own zip-tie bracelets! For $7 we got snacks (there was also beer but I passed), enough supplies and instructions to make 3 bracelets, and free entry to the museum exhibits.


The technique was pretty easy. Trim the zip-ties to fit loosely (bangle style) and secure with scotch tape. Then tie a string of beads to the zip-tie between the fourth and fifth beads, and wind the ribbon around the beads twice. Secure the ribbon with a little crazy glue and voila! Homemade zip-tie bangles! It was fun to flex my arts and crafts muscle for the first time in forever, even if Aviva had to help me at points due to my insane impatience.

We checked out the exhibits – there were two really interesting ones on baseball memorabilia and another on war. I want to make an effort to go to more museums – and will definitely try and make it to another CAFAM event soon…maybe the one next weekend about craft beer? Hmm.

Saturday involved some poolside lounging with my friend Armita, and I FINALLY re-created my favorite spanish dish, Salmorejo cordobés! I fell  in love with salmorejo when I traveled to Córdoba with my friend Laura and her (now fiancé) Juan to visit his family. His mother made this INCREDIBLE dish for us – it’s like a cold soup but I eat it as a dip. I need to make this every day, it is that good.

do not knock this until you’ve tried it.

Armita and I gorged on salmorejo and she made incredible stuffed red bell peppers. We also watched some of one of our favorite childhood movies – The Parent Trap with Lilo before she went cray. Such a classic.


I then realized that I am an old person. Early dinner and a movie and I was exhausted. That is mildly troubling.

Sunday morning Whitney, Riley, and I hit up yoga at Runyon Canyon. The instructor wasn’t my favorite at first, but I warmed up to him. He was crazy speedy with the sun salutations and I definitely think he’s in the “yoga is exercise” and not “yoga is meditation” camp, but I sorta dug that. By the end, I really enjoyed his no nonsense attitude and I had definitely gotten a good workout in. After yoga, we tried a new-to-me brunch place in WeHo, Basix.

The prices were great for the area – it’s hard to beat $8.50 for an egg white omelette in these parts. I went for a spinach-avocado-chicken apple sausage omelette and an iced coffee. I’ll definitely hit up Basix again, the service and food were both excellent.

Looking forward to a full week ahead! Here’s my workouts from this last week. I am trying to ramp up my cross-training by incorporating swimming into my routine, and work on doing things other than running so that I will actually be a stronger runner. I am eyeing a fall marathon and want to be healthy and strong.

Here’s to a happy, sunny, and healthy Monday 🙂

For my Spain-o-philes…what is your ONE favorite dish? 

wanderlust wednesday [travel list challenge].

11 Apr

One of my favorite healthy living bloggers, Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers, crossed genres today when she posted her responses to the Travel List Challenge that is floating around the web these days.

I love to travel, and it’s hard to believe that a year ago I was in-between trips to Mallorca and Ibiza, and planning one with a friend to Munich. It seems like a lifetime ago sometimes, and when I daydream I miss the ability to jaunt to another country for a couple of nights (cheaply, of course) and to stroll Madrid’s broad boulevards at all hours of the day. So, since the only traveling I’m doing anytime soon is between West Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles, I thought I’d follow Julie’s lead and post my answers to the Travel List Challenge.

The pink locations are the places I’ve checked off the old bucket list:

1. Alamo
San Antonio, Texas, USA

2. Alhambra 
Granada, Spain

january 2011.

3. Andros Island

4. Angel Falls

5. Angkor Wat
Angkor, Cambodia

6. Atlantic City Boardwalk
Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

7. Ayers Rock

8. Big Ben 
London, England

june 2006. (first trip abroad!)

9. Bora Bora

10. British Museum
London, England

11. Canals of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands

12. Cathedral of Seville 
Seville, Spain

january 2009. (cristobal colon's tomb is here...epic).

13. Cave of Crystals

14. Christ the Redeemer
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

15. Cinque Terre National Park

16. Colosseum
Rome, Italy

with my friend hannes, june 2006.

becca and me, april 2009.

17. Crater Lake National Park
Oregon, USA

18. Dead Sea

19. Death Valley National Park
California, USA

20. Devil’s Tower
Wyoming, USA

21. Dome of the Rock
Jerusalem, Israel

22. Easter Island Statues

23. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh, Scotland

24. Eiffel Tower
Paris, France

July 2009.

the city of light.

25. Empire State Building,
New York City, New York (I’ve been to NYC twice and just realized I have never been to the top of the Empire State Building! My mom and brother have, though, so there’s that). 

26. Forbidden City
Beijing, China

27. French Quarter
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

28. Galapagos Islands


29. Gateway Arch
St. Louis, Missouri, USA

30. Gettysburg Battlefield
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA

31. Glacier Bay Basin
Alaska, USA

32. Glacier National Park
Montana, USA

33. Glowworm Cave
New Zealand

34. Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, California, USA

walking across with my friend Lily, May 2010.

35. Grand Canal
Venice, Italy

angela and i, july 2006. 🙂

36. Grand Canyon
Arizona, USA

37. Grand Mosque in Mecca
Saudi Arabia

38. Great Barrier Reef
Queensland, Australia

39. Great Mosque of Córdoba
Córdoba, Spain

roadtrip from Madrid, november 2010.

40. Great Wall of China

41. Hagia Sophia
Istanbul, Turkey

42. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii, USA

43. Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, California, USA

44. Iguazu Falls
Argentina and Brazil

45. Kiyomizu-dera
Kyoto, Japan

46. Kremlin
Moscow, Russia

47. Lake Titicaca

48. Las Ramblas
Barcelona, Spain

first stoll, January 2009.

drinks at a rooftop hotel off las ramblas with my aunt, june 2011.

49. Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas, Nevada

january 2010. one visit of many.

50. Leaning Tower of Pisa
Pisa, Italy

51. Louvre Museum
Paris, France

july 2006.

52. Macchu Picchu

53. Matterhorn

54. Mayan Pyramids of Chichen Itza
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

55. Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York City, New York, USA

56. Mount Everest

57. Mount Fuji

58. Mount Kilimanjaro

59. Mount Rushmore
Keystone, South Dakota, USA

60. Napa Valley
California, USA

with my a-chi-os april 2010.

61. Ngorongoro Crater

62. Niagara Falls
New York, USA

63. Notre Dame Cathedral
Paris, France

july 2009.

64. Pacific Rim National Park
British Columbia, Canada

65. Pebble Beaches of Nice
Nice, France

66. Petra

67. Petronas Twin Towers
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

68. Portland Head Lighthouse
Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA

69. Puerta Del Sol
Madrid, Spain

moved to madrid! september 2010.

70. Pyramids of Giza

71. Redwood National Park
California, USA

72. Rock of Gibraltar

73. Rocky Mountain National Park
Colorado, USA

74. Ruins of Athens
Athens, Greece

75. Ruins of Pompeii
Pompei, Italy

76. Sagrada Famila
Barcelona, Spain

my home for four months. jan-april 2009.

revisited. april 2011.

77. Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)
Chicago, Illinois, USA

78. Sedlec Ossuary
Czech Republic

79. Sistine Chapel
Vatican City, Italy

80. Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C., USA

81. Space Needle
Seattle, Washington, USA

family trip, june 2007.

82. St. Peter’s Basilica
Vatican City, Italy

83. Statue of Liberty
New York City, New York, USA

trip with my dad, summer 2008.

84. Stonehenge
Wiltshire County, England

85. Sydney Opera House
Sydney, Australia

86. Taj Mahal
Agra, India

87. Temple of the Golden Pavilion
Kyoto, Japan

88. Teotihuacan

89. Tian Tan Buddha
Hong Kong, China

90. Times Square
New York City, New York, USA

summer 2008.

91. Varanasi
Uttar Pradesh, India

92. Victoria Falls

93. Wailing Wall
Jerusalem, Israel

94. Walt Disney World Resort
Orlando, Florida

95. Washington Monument
Washington, D.C., USA

summer 2010.

96. White Cliffs of Dover
Dover, England

june 2006.

97. White House
Washington, D.C., USA

98. Winchester Cathedral
Hampshire, England

99. Yosemite National Park
California, USA

100. Zion National Park
Utah, USA

How many of the 100 have YOU been to? Leave your number in the comments!
I’ve made it to 30 places on the list! Not too shabby…but lots more to check out.

And top 3 places you haven’t been to that you’d like to make it to?

Mine are Christ the Redemeer in Rio de Janeiro, the French Quarter in New Orleans, and the Pyramids in Egypt!

spring break eats :)

7 Mar

I survived my Torts midterm on Monday! After 66 rousing multiple choice questions, my friends and I commenced the beginning of our super-short “spring break.” (I put spring break in quotes because we have work to do during it, but what else is new).

A group of my friends and I headed over to El Cholo downtown for necessary margaritas. Later that night the revelry continued at The Churchill and St. Nick’s on West 3rd Street.

negligence? what's that?

post-midterm lunch 🙂

Tuesday night, Whitney and I headed over to The Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax to take advantage of a Bloomspot deal I bought back in November for a restaurant called Little Spain.

For $25, we got 2 “copas de Sangria” and a hefty assortment of (super authentic) Spanish tapas.

If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you know that I studied abroad in Barcelona junior year of college and then moved back to Madrid after graduation to teach English for a year. Spanish food is delicious – but I definitely over-dosed after 9 months of living there. Now that I’m back in California, though, it’s really hard to find authentic tapas like jamón serrano, tortilla espanola, and croquetas!

I was beyond pleased with the selection at Little Spain!


Barcelona's Parc Guell. aka my happy place.

Barcelona's Parc Guell. aka my happy place.

My last Spring Break restaurant outing thus far was lunch on Wednesday Downtown at Bottega Louie, a place I have literally been meaning to try for months. I read Lynn‘s review of it before we went, and was happy to see she said that it was pretty casual (it looks super frou-frou from the outside).

My roommate Jenn and I met our friend from our sorority in college, Amanda, for a lunch (Amanda is on spring break this week as well from law school at Georgetown). I was super stoked to try Bottega. We shared the Portobello Fries (INSANELY GOOD – a must), the [deconstructed] Ceasar salad, and a delicious Napoli pizza.

Pizza, Macarons, and Portobello Fries.

On my way out, I picked up 5 macarons to bring to my parents since I drove out to the Conejo Valley to spend the night. I selected some intriguing flavors: Rose, Espresso, Chocolate Orange, Vanilla, and Salted Caramel. After cutting into a couple to try, both parentals elicited various words in the “yummmm” category.

The rest of Spring Break will include running some errands (my MacBook Pro’s trackball function has been acting up), working out and doing a little homework, and a quick trip to Palm Springs this coming weekend!

Look out for posts detailing my new favorite workout music and workouts [and where I’m at running wise] in the near future.

Enjoy your week!

two thousand eleven: the playlist.

31 Dec

Last year, I reviewed 2010 in mash-up form. I love starting (and maintaing) traditions so I thought I’d do a similar month-by-month re-cap of my year with a song for each month. 2011 was exciting, and also a sort of transitional year. And, just like last year, if you want a breakdown of the music of the year, listen to this. Here’s the breakdown…

January – What’s My Name Rihanna f/ Drake

This is the song for January because the first time I heard it was when I was in Bilbao with my mom at a coffee shop the beginning of the month. We also went to San Sebastian and Granada and had a great time together in all three (we both loved Granada the most, though). My mom wrote a guest post or two, I re-dedicated myself to long distance running in Madrid, and celebrated my 23rd birthday in Madrid with a night at Kapital (a 7 story club).

with my mom in front of the legendary Guggenheim in Bilbao.

February – Grenade by Bruno Mars 

I am pretty sure that song was popular in the states long before I ever heard in Madrid, but that song reminds me of last February which was a short but memorable month. I bonded with the kids at my school and at my private lessons, immersed myself in Madrid and went to a Real Madrid game (despite being a Barça fan) and got in some long runs. I also went on two fun trips: Marrakesch, Morocco, which remains one of my favorite excursions, and Tenerife, in the Canary Islands which was fun and beautiful.


sunset in tenerife.

March – Loca People by Sak Noel

March was a very “Spain” month – I blogged a lot about the kids’ antics, and I also went to Valencia for the Las Fallas festival, showed my sorority friend Amy around Madrid, and dealt with Spanish banking inefficiency my own idiocy. I chose this song for Madrid because it basically pokes fun at how the party scene in Spain is just so “loca.” 

burn, fallas, burn.

April – Jennifer Lopez On The Floor 

April was a fabulous month – I kicked it off by setting a PR in the half marathon in Madrid (my friend Hannes also ran it!) I also developed my intense love affair with 100 Montaditos, went to a typically Spanish capea and tried to fight a bull, and traveled to Mallorca and Barcelona with my roommates and friend Krisse who was visiting. I specifically loved spending one of my favorite holidays, Dia de San Jordi, in my favorite city in the world, Barcelona, with my friends Krisse and Lily. I also became more involved with the blogging world in April and signed up for the SF Nike Women’s Half Marathon!

at the capea.

dia de san jordi with krisse and lily.

May – Hello by Martin Solveig and Dragonette

I picked this song because I heard it at Pacha Ibiza when I was there for a few days at the beginning of the month. Ibiza had been on my list fora  few years and it was awesome – gorgeous views and insane nightlife. I need to go back sometime during busy season (late May – September). I also went to the first communion of a girl I tutor, Gracia, which was fun, experienced the pre-cursor to the Occupy Wall Street movement, 15-M in the center of Madrid, and I did a 10k with my roommate, Kerren. I also hit up the Madrid Open with my 1st and 2nd graders and hung out with my friend Michelle in Madrid.

Gracia's communion.

raging ibiza.

June – Sufre Marmón by Hombres G

June was bittersweet – I went to Munich with my friend Laura, but then said goodbye to my school (tears were shed). This song reminds me of all the kids – one of them, Alejandro, serenaded the whole class on one of the last days. I also hung out with my uncle Casey and my aunt Melinda – and my aunt and I went to Barcelona and took the AVE! I also headed home to LA at the end of the month (but not before finishing my self-imposed 100 Montaditos challenge!) and I finally entered 2011 and got an iPhone.

my uncle and me in madrid.

loving 100 montaditos.

July – Don’t Wanna Go Home by Jason Derulo

This song was all over the radio when I first got home, and it was sort of fitting (even though I was happy to be home). July started with a 4th of July 10k (and PR) with Hannes, got my first “real” apartment in WEst Hollywood, went art museum hopping in Santa Barbara and in Pasadena, checked out the street art in Venice and at the Banksy exhibit in LA, went to Santa Cruz with the family, and visited the famous Watts Towers,  and most importantly, went to Vegas! What a fun summer month 🙂

Venice, CA

August – Drake Headlines 

The big “headline” for my August was starting law school! August 22 began a 4-month long-grind but I can honestly say I have loved it so far. Beyond that, I also explored my new neighborhood a little bit with visits to Cuvee, Jack n Jills too and Real Food Daily, Father’s Office, Taste, Toast, and more. I also began marathon training with the LA Leggers in Santa Monica! This is when the blog officially went from a travel and running blog to a food/beer/running blog.

pretty cafes at urth.

September – Paris by Jay-Z and Kanye West

In reality, this song could be August-December because it is that huge an obsession (really I love the whole Watch the Throne album). September involved a lot of school, running, various libraries, lunch at Lemonade and dinner at Gaby’s, and celebrated my Dad’s birthday at home. Other highlights include lots of dorky 1L jokes and a ton of case reading. #win!

oh hey, september.

October – Avicii Levels

I had to pick this song because it made it onto my half-marathon playlist and is a great running jam (school and running would dominate 10/11). I took my first midterm (Property), celebrated my mom’s birthday with a BOMB dinner at Red O, hiked Runyon Canyon, checked out the WeHo library, and ran the SF Nike Women’s Half (poor race strategy and over-eagerness early on would prevent me from PR-ing #sad).

at the race expo. not the most flattering pic but what can you do.

November – Chris Brown Beautiful People

And yet again, I picked a song to symbolize the month based on that month’s race playlist. I was the 2nd female overall in the WeSPARK 10k at Universal Studios which was pretty awesome, and I also got a PR by about two seconds. November was largely consumed by school and finals prep, but I managed to see Bill Maher perform, enjoy dinner at Tart, and have Thanksgiving at home and run a fun 5k locally with some old high school friends and teammates (no PR this time, I will never again see my 5k PR – hah).

universal studios.

December – Take Care Drake f/ Rihanna

It wasn’t even intentional that my boy Drizzy Drake bookended my year…this song is epic and I blared it on repeat while I was studying (as much as you can blare a song while wearing headphones in the library, but whatever). In December I studied for 3 weeks straight and had multiple law school dreams, and injured my knee early in the month forcing me to pull back from my marathon training and cozy up to my local PT. The knee is stronger and finals are over, allowing me some time to fit in Christmas with my family, a trip to Vegas, and of course plenty of time to explore new LA eateries. It feels great to be back off blogging hiatus!

umami burger. another obsession.

Hope everyone has a fun night tonight! Here’s to a fabulous 2012 🙂

Thank you to all of my readers and commenters – this year I really got into blogging and am excited to leap ahead into 2012 with you all!

one year ago.

21 Sep

A year ago this morning, I left for 9 months to work in Madrid, Spain as an Auxiliar de Conversación at a school in the northern part of the city, Colegio Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo. It was a great experience, and hard to believe that my “gap year” experience is already over. Throughout the course of the year I…

…happened to live with Kerren and Alia who ended up being great friends.

in segovia last october.

...traveled to an insane number of places and got some of my insatiable wanderlust out of my system, at least for a few years…

macarons in Lyon.

Las Fallas in Valencia.

the day after Christmas in Salamanca.

…took advantage of the Spanish lifestyle and culture all over again…


patatas bravas.

showdown with a bull.

an obsession is born.

…bonded with all of my students, taught oodles of private lessons, and learned some Spanish slang in the process…

christmas at the cole.

a good-bye note from one of my kids, diego. looooove.

last day of school water fight.

me with my tutee, gracia, and her mom and aunt at gracia's first communion.

…there’s a ton of things I miss about Spain and I could go on and on about my experiences in the best country in Europe. It’s hard to believe that a year ago today that journey began, and how much has happened in that last year!

What do you do when you’re missing a place? 

gaudí in los angeles?

25 Jul

Last week, my Dad and I did something we’ve wanted to do for a long time – we drove deep into Los Angeles to see the Watts Towers. They’re pretty awesome.

The towers consist of 17 inter-connected structures made by one man: Italian immigrant Simon Rodia, over 33 years (1921-1954). The towers are made with steel pipes and rods, and decorated with bits of tiles, porcelain, and found glass. Some of the glass is from recognizable soda bottles from the era – I spotted many green Canada Dry bottles.

The structures have drawn comparison to Antoní Gaudí’s work in Barcelona – and yes, this is one of (if not the main) reason for me wanting to see the Watts Towers. While the styles are different, there are definite similarities.

Gaudí's La Sagrada Familia

mosaics at Gaudí's Park Guell

Park Guell.

Do you notice the similarities? Or I am so Barcelona-obsessed that I’m making this up?

The Watts Towers were pretty cool – although not as tall as I thought they would be initially.

new obsession: instagram on the iPhone.

My Dad and I were happy to check this off our LA bucket list – it’s cool something like this exists and has been preserved. It was a trek out to Watts, but worth it 🙂

What’s your favorite example of street or outdoor art? 

pomegranate city.

15 Jul

My mom and my third stop on our Spanish city tour last January was Granada, in the region of Andalucia in Southern Spain. (“Granada” is Spanish for pomegranate in case you’re ever on Jeopardy). We were surprised by how much we loved Granada and wished we’d allocated our time differently so we could have spent more than two nights there – and it remains one of my favorite cities in Spain! [You can read my mom’s guest post about Granada here.]

granadas in Granada.

the basics. Granada is a tourist attraction mostly due to the Alhambra – a vestige of the Islamic presence in Spain prior to the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 when Jews and Muslims were forced to convert to Catholicism or leave the country – but the city is charming in its own right with the gorgeous Sierra Nevada mountain range serving as a back drop, the myriad tapas joints studding the city, and the North African influence in the Alcayzín area. Granada is charming and enchanting.

touring G-town.

the logistics. Coming from Madrid was a cinch. My mom and I hopped on an ALSA bus from the Estación del Sur and arrived in Granada less than 5 hours later (and that includes a mandatory rest stop). The tickets were cheap – and while not luxurious, it’s an easy and efficient way to travel.

the lodging. We stayed at unique place very close to the Alhambra called Hotel Zaguan. It had lots of character – our room was two stories and we had to climb up a spiral staircase to get to the room itself. I’d recommend this place, though, the value is pretty good even if it is a little bit quirky!

home for two nights.


the sights. 

  • the alhambra. We spent a few hours at The Alhambra and took in the stunning views and appreciated the Moorish architecture. It was awesome to be at one of the most visited sights in Europe – and it was definitely worth the visit. We walked through the Generalife, Alcazaba, and the Nasrid Palaces.

view from the alhambra.

the alhambra + sierra nevadas.

  • mirador de san nicolas. This vantage point was impossible to find using our various maps, but luckily we stumbled upon it before sunset. We hung out and took photos, and watched a raid or two from the policia on the locals selling jewelry and other trinkets. After the cops were there for 30-40 minutes, people were re-selling their wares within minutes. It was a unique and fascinating spectacle, and the views were great too.

mirador de san nicolas.

the raid.

sunset from the mirador

the food. While the tapas were delicious (and free with a beer or other drink!) the real stand-outs from our time in Granada were decidedly non-Spanish. My mom’s favorite meal took place at a fast food joint called Kabab King – the Mediterranean blend was delicious – and the addition of corn to the classic kebab was welcome. Kabab King is on C/ Elvira in Granada.


My favorite meal would have to be in the North African-inspired region of the city, the Alcayzín, at a “teteria” or tea shop called “Kasbah.” We had North African/Moroccan food consisting of chicken with cous-cous and raisins – the flavors were delicious and it was a unique experience for Spain.
rock the kasbah.
I love Granada for its cultural diversity – it’s rare for a Spanish city to basically be multi-cultural in everything from its origins and background to its current population and culinary options. Granada is definitely my favorite city in Andalucia, and although I only spent a short time there, it may even rival Madrid for 2nd place in my list of favorite Spanish cities.
Have you been to Granada? What was your favorite part about it or thing you did there?