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#birthdayproblems

6 Feb

I am so behind on blogging. I have SO much to get caught up on – a recent half-marathon, my birthday, my good friend Jeff’s wedding…the list goes on. I think I’ll try and get caught up in the next few days – I finally have a weekend that isn’t completely filled so I’m looking forward to catching up with school stuff, cleaning the ol’ apartment, and relaxing. Kind of like this:

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But I digress. I think I’ll start with my birthday.

Last week, I turned twenty-five. Whoooa. I thought it would be a little less scary spelled out, but I was wrong. 25. I had my first “oh boy I’m oldddd” birthday at 14 (I kid you not). Kind of had a mid-life crisis at 20…21 I was in no state to be emo…and I guess that trend has pretty much continued. I joked about being old – seriously BUMMED I’m too old to ever be cast on the Real World – I could have been the bitchy/crazy but also relatively together character – but I had a fabulous birthday.

I am the farthest thing from a birthday diva. The idea of a “birthday week” makes me gag, and I don’t like making a huge deal about it, but I do love getting together with friends to celebrate. I think that’s why I can pretty much remember what I have done to celebrate every birthday.

My birthday was on a Tuesday which is sort of…not an ideal day for festivities. One of my co-externs, Colleen, surprised me with an epic box of cupcakes to share with the office, which was incredibly sweet. The externs and I all hit up Wurstkuche for lunch (per Taylor’s request/demand). He also “forced” me to get a lunch beer. I didn’t fight him.

That night, I met up with my parents for a dineLA dinner at Luna Park on La Brea. I had a delicious appetizer of artichoke, an entree of chicken with brussel sprouts, and we split a ton of insanely decadent desserts. It was nice spending time with my parents and hearing some of their crazy stories.

The festivities continued on Friday. Jenn organized a small b-day dinner for my closest girlfriends at WeHo’s Tortilla Republic. The margaritas were TOP NOTCH and I had amazing Lobster Enchiladas.

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Thank you to the very friendly WeHo man who took this photograph, and raved about the margaritas. Not sure if I totally agree with him that El Carmen is “disgusting,” but whatever.

After dinner, we high-tailed it back to my apartment so I could blow out the candles on the cake Jenn made for me. A few high school friends (and now my neighbors – weird) met up with us before we headed to the bars. Sadly, I didn’t get too many pictures with them at the bar, but I did manage to loudly berate them all for bouncing before my parents did.

old.

old.

I think my favorite thing about my birthday was having so many different groups of friends converge. Whitney wasn’t feeling 100% but it was great seeing her for dinner/cake.

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Around 9:30, I headed to The Churchill. This place was THE hot-spot last year- and lines out the door for hours. Now, it’s much more subdued and was a cool spot for my purposes (read: drink a lot and talk a lot).

My parents were there when I got there. They are the coolest.

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Andddd my 8th grade frenemy Taylor was able to make it. She and I met in 8th grade and became fast friends…until she called me a “bitch” and I thought she was mean. Turns out, she was just telling the truth. We ran youth track together and kept in touch although we went to different high schools and colleges, but were able to re-connect last year before she left me for some cold city up north. It was SO fun seeing her, and she hash-tagged #BirthdayProblems on Instagram, which I appreciated. Oh, and my Dad poked fun at the fact she ran one cross country race backwards for the first 200 meters. Oh, TayKal…

wish i had a picture from the frenemy days, but i'll spare the internet our awkward years.

wish i had a picture from the frenemy days, but i’ll spare the internet our awkward years.

Also loooooved seeing Kelsey – my high school cross-country teammate/friend/role-model…

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…my fav newlyweds, Heather and Blake, who have somehow yet to be scared off by my craziness…

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… a bunch of my section 3 budz…

sergio + #driscoll

sergio + #driscoll

armita, taylor, and marty...not totally sure what was happening here.

armita, taylor, and marty…not totally sure what was happening here.

We ended the night at St. Nick’s, my fav little dive bar. Armita and I shut the place down around 2, and went across the street for some D’Amore’s. I felt pretty wrecked the next morning, which I guess is how any birthday should be.

Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate and who sent birthday love my way through all of my different social media avenues (I know, I am ridiculous).

G

#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

vignettes.

25 Jul

My externship at the Criminal courthouse downtown is wrapping up, school is starting soon, and I am enjoying my last few weeks of summer. My fellow externs and I have been maximizing our time downtown by exploring, and I have been trying to fit in more quintessential LA excursions whenever and wherever possible.

The courthouse was particularly slow at the beginning of the week – we all notably had a case of the Mondays. We didn’t have a trial or anything really going on. I attempted to perk myself up with a little evening yoga sesh at Runyon Canyon.

yoga at Runyon.

It worked. Although I will say the man who lit his own incense next to me was a little bit TOO L.A. for me.

On Tuesday, we broke our monotony (and our case of the Mondays) by changing our usual lunch-time spot. We walked along Hill Street with the goal of hitting up California Plaza for a little Mendocino Farms action.

We realized we could make our lunch a little bit more adventurous by foregoing the stairs to get to the plaza on Grand Ave., and instead take Angels Flight! It has been around since 1901 and is the “shortest railway in the world.” I remember going on Angels Flight as a little girl and was excited to go with the extern crew!

It only cost 50 cents to ride and was a fun little addition to our day. 🙂

Also on Tuesday, I got a text from Armita explaining that it was National Tequila Day and that Aviva and I were being summoned to celebrate with margaritas. I decided on El Carmen on West 3rd street because I knew from past trips that their margs were delectable. The server suggested their Guava Margarita so I took her up on that and it didn’t disappoint (although the service otherwise was pretty lackluster). 

My budz: 

I went with a carnitas taco and a potato taco. Both were great – and relatively inexpensive! $10 for this whole plate. Pretty good considering I once saw Jeremy Piven here. If it’s bougie enough for Ari Gold…

Today picked up at work – we got a trial and jury selection started today for a domestic violence case. While this experience has showed me I don’t see myself going the criminal law route, it has shown me that I LOVE jury selection. I love hearing about people’s lives, guessing where they’re from, and hearing their cocamamie excuses for why they can’t serve. Today someone actually said he “daydreams” a lot and may have trouble focusing. My extern friends and I brought our lunches today and took them to the plaza at the cathedral downtown. It was a pretty, sunny, and relaxing spot.

The rest of the week will be interesting with this trial…it’s hard to believe this summer is coming to an end! Before I sign off for the rest of the week, I wanted to leave y’all with this Tiesto song which is on repeat at my gym currently.

How do you beat a gnarly case of the Mondays?