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#clowclanstaycation

29 Aug

Earlier this week I spent two nights in Hermosa Beach with my family for a little “staycation” action.  My brother recently started working at a music venue in Hermosa (Saint Rocke) as a Digital Marketing Assistant, and he also hosts their Open Mic Nights on Tuesdays.  My parents wanted to see him in action, but making the trek home to the Conejo Valley didn’t sound too appealing to them, so my mom booked an awesome beach house via VRBO for all of us for two nights.

Our #clowclanstaycation began on Monday.  While my brother was at work, my parents and I had an early dinner at the Hook & Plow on Pier Ave.

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I enjoyed this Atticus IPA from the local Strand Brewing Co. (Torrance, CA).  For my dinner, I had a delicious salad made with arugula, buratta cheese, a peach, and organic chicken. Yum!

After dinner, we headed to Saint Rocke’s trivia night.  My brother was too cool to play on our team, so my parents and I tried to be contenders.  We named our team Santos L. Halper (because #EverySimpsonsEver).  We started out pretty well and then TANKED.  There was an entire round on movies about magic where we got zero right.  I’m not the biggest movie fan (they’re SUCH a commitment and most movies suck) so I’m okay that we didn’t get those right.

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Proud of my Dad for getting a bonus question right (you have to not only know the answer but be the fastest team to tell the guy the right answer). The question was: “What is the name of the song that begins ‘Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.'” Answer: “The Christmas Song.”  My Dad knew it right away (I knew it, but it would have taken me a second).  Glad I was raised on Mel Torme!

A question I am embarrassed I didn’t know: What is the most popular wine varietal in Australia and what is the same grape called in France? Answer: Shiraz/Syrah.  #notawineo.

The next day, my parents and I spent a lot of time walking around Hermosa — we walked to the Manhattan Beach pier and just spent some time enjoying the strand and the pier. We also had a delicious and inexpensive lunch at The Standing Room. Loved my $7 kale + candied bacon salad!

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That night, we spent a couple of hours enjoying Saint Rocke’s surprisingly delicious $1 tacos and $5 margaritas, and watching my brother channel his inner Carson Daly during Open Mic Night. There were some good acts! 10603558_10103422063324473_4671654060378486421_nOn Wednesday morning, my mom and I took a couple of bikes (included in our vacation rental!) out for a bit.  We rode just a few miles to the Redondo Beach pier and back, but I was glad to add another thing to my “do something fun every day before I start work” list.

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Where is your favorite place to #staycation?

Do you have any vacation traditions? 

 

turks and caicos #bartrip.

11 Aug

Hi everyone!  So about two weeks ago I was preparing to take the bar exam, and a week ago I left for 5 nights in the Caribbean (specifically on the island of Turks and Caicos).  I went with one of my law school friends, Aviva, and we had a great time!

We stayed at the Club Med there, known as Turkoise.  I wanted an easy vacation that required little thought and allowed lots of time for relaxation, sun, and outdoor activities, and Club Med delivered.  I wasn’t wild about some of the cruise-ship type activities (aqua jogging? choreographed dancing? third-rate (at best) “shows”? No thanks)  But I did love the wide array of activities to choose from, the gorgeous turquoise waters, live music, an endless open bar, the fact it was adults only so there were no loud parents screaming at their kids (I love kids, parents are usually the ones who are annoying), and all of the fun, talkative people I met.

Here are some highlights:

Stand-up Paddleboarding!

10599138_10152214129796456_5074804215555824643_nI could not get enough of this.  I love SUP-ing in LA but don’t do it enough.  I got out four different times during my vacation.

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Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 9.04.46 AMI didn’t take a sailing lesson while I was there (next time) but I did go sailing with someone who knew what they were doing.  I used to sail when I was younger (woo-hoo sailing camp when I was like 12), but it was great being out there!

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FINALLY reading for pleasure:

I crushed The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in about two days and it is without a doubt one of my favorite books, ever.  It is an amazing blend of science, medical ethics issues, and law.  This non-fiction book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cancerous cells were taken without her knowledge in the 1950s and became the first “immortal” line of cells, proving to be valuable for subsequent medical research for decades. Fascinating.

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Before I left, one of my Dad’s friends who I don’t even know mailed me a book for my trip — incredibly sweet and surprising.  He knows I am an avid runner (and Nike fan) so he sent me a biography on Bill Bowerman – famed University of Oregon track and XC coach (Steve Prefontaine, duh) and the brain behind Nike.  I’m about half-way through it now and am loving it.

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Running

The resort had a running group every M/W/F head out for a 5k and I joined them twice.  It was hot and humid, but I loved running with some new people and we kept a nice pace.  I met a sweet Dad and son duo from SF and a guy from Germany who asked if running was my “full time job.” Hah.

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Even though the runs were SHORT, the humidity really got to me and it made breathing pretty difficult! 10501787_10103354850988533_7433380317236588020_nSnorkeling

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We took a boat out to a reef and spent about 40 minutes taking in all of the gorgeous fish.  I loved the Princess Parrotfish I spotted.

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Sunsets 

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I loved spending the evening hours at the local bar – weirdly named “the Sharkies” to hear some live music and to watch the sunset.

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This was also a great time to meet other members at the resort.  During this time, Aviva and I became friends with the resort’s lifeguard, the resident DJ who HOOKED ME UP on the last night and played an hour straight of hip hop, two guys from Montreal who are also Dodger fans, and an older guy from my hometown who had on a cap with my running store’s logo on it, and many others.

This was one of my favorite parts of the trip — I liked that everyone at Club Med was social — it felt like a higher-end hostel, and I LOVED the hostel vibe when I studied abroad in Spain and again when I lived there again after college.

“Raging”

There was a party every night at the resort which was great.  Aviva and I had the most fun at the Pirate-themed one (randomly packed a skull-print dress #winning) and the party on the last night was fun too.  We met a super nice guy (kid?) who was NINETEEN and  I have literally never felt older.

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We also enjoyed lounging poolside and by the ocean (even I came back with a pretty gnarly sunburn).  This was the view from our room: 10580132_10103352519031793_7583800574037898765_n

I also liked the fact that there was a gym with tons of weights and machines, yoga classes, and the food (buffet style) was pretty good and there were tons of options.

I’d definitely consider going the all-inclusive route again, especially when traveling to a place where all you want to do is relax.

Where’s the last place you traveled to? Most exotic place you’ve gone running? 

back to life.

3 Aug

Hi everyone! Sorry I went MIA for awhile! But I’m happy to report the CA Bar exam is over (I’ll get results in November) so I’ll be back to blogging a little more regularly!

Since I finished on Thursday, I’ve been doing a lot of this:

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and some of this: 20140803-200222.jpg

Now I’m off to spend a week in Turks & Caicos and will be back with a full report when I’m back! Have a great week 🙂

new year’s in SF

9 Jan

I spent New Year’s in the Bay Area and had a great time — so I thought I’d share some highlights from the trip.

My parents and I drove up together last Monday and arrived at my Aunt and Uncle’s home in Oakland.  We first did a 3-mile walk around Lake Merritt.

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Fun fact: Lake Merritt was one of the first “runs” I ever did, approximately 12-13 years ago.  I remember being so proud of myself for running THREE whole miles.

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That same night, I took BART into the Mission district of SF to meet my roommates from when I lived in Madrid for dinner!  Kerren lives in the Palo Alto area, Federica was visiting from Italy, and Alia is an SF local.

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Kerren, Federica, me, and Alia.

We had a great time chatting (all in Spanish!) and diving into some great Italian food at Beretta!

I would absolutely recommend both items I tried: the bruschetta made with walnut bread and mushroom truffle honey, and the squid ink and calamari risotto.

Franny also joined us. Kerren and Alia knew her in college at UC Davis, and I got to know her when I lived in Madrid (she was in Granada but visited us a few times).  IMG_5430

I took BART back to the East Bay that night.  On New Year’s Eve morning,  my family and I went to Redwood Regional Park. It worked out perfectly so while they walked 2 miles, I ran 4.  My mom nabbed this photo for me.  I was feelin’ those hills!

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I loved the park — but there were so many darn off-leash dogs! 

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After we exercised, we headed to a German restaurant called Brotzeit. German food and beer transported me right back to Vienna, where I spent a week in March 2013. IMG_5450IMG_5448

No trip to the Bay would be complete without Blue Bottle.

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That evening, my uncle was nice enough to give me a lift over to SF, where I celebrated 2014 with two of my best friends from college — Kathleen and Michelle.

We had a table reserved at a fun wine bar in the Marina/Cow Hollow area called Cellar Door. It was nice, festive, and low-key — and since wine has never been my drink of choice, I knew I would not start 2014 feeling like death.

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I crashed on Kathleen’s couch and woke up for a New Year’s Day 5-miler.  Hard to beat this view: IMG_5476

I also caught a glimpse of Alcatraz from the Lyon Steps.

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Later that morning, I joined Kathleen (and her boyfriend, Miles) and Michelle and a few other of their SF friends for brunch at The Corner Store. Everything was delicious — but that biscuit breakfast sando was the best. IMG_5491Later that day, Michelle and I hit up the Soul-Cycle on Union St.  It was a great class — and I joked that it wouldn’t be a holiday if I didn’t pull a two-a-day! 

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IMG_5485I spent that night at Michelle’s — we enjoyed a Mexican feast at Uno Dos Taco on Polk Street and caught up.

I took BART to OAK the next morning (my parents had driven home a day and a half earlier).

It was a fabulous trip and made me so thankful and appreciative of my friendships with my college girlfriends that have remained strong — despite the distance!

How did you ring in 2014?  

Did you get in a New Year’s Day sweat sesh? 

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!

ak and andrea’s wedding [chicago pt. I]

3 Aug

Oh hey, blog readers!  I realized I went AWOL for no reason this last month.  The good news is I’ve been busy and have lots of blog-worthy posts up my sleeve – so be on the look-out for posts in the near future about spinning, the end of my summer job, my favorite DTLA eats, among others.  One notable thing happened in my blog absence: That’s G turned 4!  I know this blog is pretty small, but I’ve really enjoyed writing it and sharing little glimpses into my (relatively boring) life with y’all. So thanks for hanging with me!

I figured the first post post-hiatus (if Grey’s Anatomy can take one, surely I can too, right? That’s how this works) should be about my recent trip to Chicago!

The purpose of the trip was to see my old friend A.K. (Andrew Kory) get married.  I have known AK for over 10 years.  We became friends freshman year of high school and have pretty much been friends since.  He’s one member of my motley crew of guy friends from high school (aka “my boys” or my “bruddahs”).  I distinctly remember grabbing coffee with AK in May of 2009 after my semester abroad in Barcelona.  I have always known him as AK and he gave his name to the barista as “Andrew.”  I scoffed and he said “I have a new girlfriend and she calls me Andrew, so that’s what I go by now.” That’s when I knew he meant business.

I got to know Andrea shortly after and we became friends as well — I admire her ability to hold her own in our rowdy group of crazies.  Going on three years ago AK and Andrea were my very first visitors when I lived in Madrid — a trip both they and I will always remember.

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Anyway, I love them and was so happy to see them tie the knot and travel to Chicago, where Andrea is from. I digress.  Back to Chicago.

I finished work on July 26 and after happy hour(s), I headed to my parents’ home so we could start the journey together.  My whole family was invited – my parents share some “trojan family” mumbo jumbo connection with AK and Andrea that I couldn’t begin to understand.  We set off early on Saturday the 27th and I ran into my friend Jeff and my friend Ryan’s parents, Pam and Brian, who were also headed to the wedding. Yay for an entourage!

That night, we headed to the rehearsal dinner in the Gold Coast region of Chicago at Lou Malnati’s – for some legendary deep dish.  Afterward, we all went out to a bar/lounge called Social 25.  We all had fun catching up and listening to the copious amount of Pitbull songs they played.  I noticed that the bars in Chicago were BIG – way more elbow room than in LA.  I guess the city’s nickname of the “city of big shoulders” has some truth to it. #endorse.

The next day was wedding Sunday!  I started the day off with a run through Millenium Park to Lake Michigan with my friend/fellow workout fiend Emily.  So glad she got me out of my laziness and moving!

standard bean running pic.

standard bean running pic.

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After our run, my mom and I headed to get our hair done at Blow by Blow (totally recommend if you’re looking for a Drybar equivalent in Chicago).  We got ready and headed to the ballroom at the hotel, the Hyatt Regency Chicago, for the ceremony.

some of my friends groomsmen-ing.

some of my friends groomsmen-ing.

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reception time w/ my brudahhhh Jeffrey.

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We all had a lot of fun at the reception.  The band was the BEST wedding entertainment I’ve seen.  The Ken Alren band had a few singers, so they sang a bunch of current (and older) favorites — and sounded just like the real thing.  Here’s my insta video of Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.” OBSESSED.  I wish they were from LA so I could eventually hire them. But I guess I need to, you know, find a husband first.  Whatever.

We danced, ate, listened to our friend Ryan’s funny groomsman toast, and celebrated AK and Andrea.  More than anything, it was SO fun to have our group of (scattered) friends together for an entire weekend.  10 years ago I would have rolled my eyes and undoubtedly made some sort of derisive comment if you would have told me I’d still be friends with all of these guys — but now I realize I am BEYOND lucky to be the token girl in our group of friends.  I may have one bio-brother but I have more than a handful of others who are willing to make fun of me at just about every opportunity (but also offer the occasional compliment or words of “wisdom”).

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Anyway, I’ll be back shortly with the rest of my trip in Chicago! My parents and I decided that since we’d never been there before, we’d extend the trip. I OD’d on delicious food, found a new-to-me regional IPA, checked an MLB stadium off the list, and found a new post-modern building to obsess over.  Pretty much all of the makings of a solid vacation!

Congrats Andrew/a (can that be a thing?)!! Hope you’re enjoying Maui!