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I guess that’s why they call it #zincity

11 Mar

Alternative title: I planned a bachelorette party by some miracle.

A few short weeks ago, my best friend Jenn’s bachelorette weekend took me and 9 other women (girls?…unclear) up to Lompoc (north of Santa Barbara) for some wine-tasting, “girl talk” and general debauchery to celebrate Jenn.   Although Jenn was quite the “rager” in college — she was literally always stopping at various fraternities to say hi to people — she was pretty adamant that she didn’t want a Vegas bachelorette, or anything super typical.  Fine by me, since I was planning it and I’m the least “OMG!!!” person there is. (That’s a type of person, FYI).

Anyway, thanks in large part to my mom’s incredible ability to find anything on the internet, we booked an amazing renovated barn that comfortably slept all of us – and it included a large kitchen, bathroom, TV, wifi, and dining table. I would definitely recommend checking out Hidden Canyon Ranch in Lompoc via Air BnB.

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There were also animals on the property, to the extent you think that’s cool:

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Before we arrived, I again enlisted my mom’s help in buying all of the food we’d need for the weekend. (Thanks mom, everyone would have starved without your guidance).  I also put together “survival kits” for everyone — I didn’t nab a picture, but they included a wine glass, a mini bottle of champagne, advil, a water bottle, gum, and a Lara bar in case of emergency.

The weekend began for me on Friday night when I picked one of mine and Jenn’s BFFs from Cal, Kathleen, up at LAX.  I was in the middle of a crazy document production, and battling a cold, but picking Kathleen up was an instant mood boost.  We high-tailed it out of LA and stayed with my parents in the Conejo Valley, which would put us a little closer to our final destination.  S/o to Kathleen for balancing out my crazy as I stayed up pretty late reviewing documents.

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In the morning, we packed up the car (s/o to my parents for being the best) and made a mandatory pit-stop.

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Kathleen and I gabbed for about two hours and arrived at the barn to set up before everyone else arrived.  Around 11 or so, everyone was there and the day began! In attendance were two of Jenn’s best friends from law school, four friends from elementary school through high school, Jenn’s sister, and then Kathleen and I held it down for the college/sorority contingent. Go bears.

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I worked with 805 Wine Tours to set up a four-hour tasting tour through the region. They were affordable, knowledgeable about the area and the region, and professional.  Our favorite winery ended up being one that I had not booked ahead of time, but our guide called during the day and squeezed us in.

During the course of the day, we stopped at Babcock, Foley, Huber, and Melville wineries and had full tastings at all of them.

girls on a tractor.

girls on a tractor (like snakes on a plane except not at all)

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I think everyone liked Huber the best because they had a dog, but I liked it because their wines were a cut above and they had snacks. Chicks and dogs, man.  I don’t get it.

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Our final stop of the day was Foley – by this point everyone was having a good time.  Except for me in this photo?

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After the tour, we headed back to the Ranch.  Some of the girls went into town and brought back tacos – best. call. ever. While others of us tried to keep drinking due to tank-status.  Ugh.

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We played a few low-key games — Jenn and I told stories from our college days when we were both wrecks (compared to now that it’s mostly just me).   I’ll spare you the funny stories about Jenn’s college days because her fiancé reads my blog and also because I’m a good friend and also because blackmail.

I also had Daniel fill out a version of the “newlywed game”-type questions which was HILARIOUS.  Here’s an example of how funny his answers were.  I may have cried:

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We spent the rest of the time relaxing, napping/drinking, playing Cards against Humanity, and talking about Kanye.  Oh wait, that was just me.  Whoops.

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We cooked dinner together and ate a ton of dessert (What’s a wedding with a #PiTheeWed hashtag if every event does not feature pie?)  Anyway,  my alcohol consumption never really hit me, until everyone else decided they were going to bed and I could not stop laughing.  It all started when Blanca asked me why I like Kanye so much…and that turned into a hyperbolic explanation that I think he is the “Steve Jobs of music” and that he could “stop making music tomorrow and become an architect.”  So I may not have made any friends on this trip, but at least Jenn is stuck with me?  Bahah.

We got up in the morning and headed back to LA – but not before stuffing our faces some more and hitting up a drive-through coffee stand in Lompoc.

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I was a stress case (event planning is not my specialty, but I am a great event-attender) but I think everyone had a good time and that this was something off the beaten path.  I’d definitely recommend where we stayed and 805 Wine Tours if you’re local and looking to do something similar!  Thank you to everyone who came 🙂

Also, LOVE YOU JENN!!! Can’t wait for this weekend and to pepper every social media platform with #PiTheeWed (well, after the moratorium on social media is lifted, of course).

What sort of bachelorette parties have you been to? 

I can’t wait to check out Austin, Texas for my friend Riley’s bach in July!

wow, temecula.

11 Mar

So, a few years ago my mom told me she has a secret nickname for me. What is it, you ask? “PFD”…which is short for “Princess Fairy Dust” because apparently magical things just happen to me.  I beg to differ, but then sometimes she’s right.

Example:  last week when I was ending a very crazy month at work (and in my own mind, but that’s a story for a different day and really no different from any other month), I noticed that a blog I follow, FinerThingsLA, was running a contest for two tickets to the Temecula wine region’s World of Wines Barrel Tasting (#WoW) event.  I left a blog comment and tweeted, and a couple of days later found out I won!  Luckily Aviva was game to trek out to the IE with me on a Sunday afternoon.  We were SO glad we did — I loved Temecula and the five wineries we made it to in a short 2.5 hour tour.

While my tickets were comped, I’d totally go back next year.  Here’s what a $99 two-day ticket gets you (or $89 if you do pre-sale):

You’ll enjoy a self-guided wine country tour that will take you to all our member wineries, each of whom will be offering varietal wines from barrel, tank or bottle. The wines will be paired with scrumptious food samplings which exemplify the perfect marriage of food and wine. Ticket holders will receive a map of the Temecula Valley, a passport which allows a visit to each participating winery and a souvenir glass. The event is held from 10am to 4:30pm. 

I’d never been to Temecula before, so we decided we start at the first winery and just sort of bop around for a bit.

We started the day at Callaway Winery.  We enjoyed tasting their 2011 Special Chardonnay and their 2011 Special SElection Cabernet Sauvignon.  Oh, and this view.

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I take back everything I ever said about the Inland Empire.  Or most things.

We spent some time enjoying live music at Europa Village, as well as their 2013 Syrah and 2014 Muscat.  I noshed on a pulled pork slider and an incredible blue cheese gingersnap cookie.

From there, we skedaddled over to Baily Winery.  I was as obnoxious as possible, sipping on my Riesling and captioning the photo below with a Kanye lyric.  Because instagram. I also sipped on their M&M – a blend of Merlot and Malbec, and tasted their pork stew and German chocolate cake.

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Aviva and I agreed we loved the vibe and setting at Miramonte – I think there I sampled the 2012 Bin #380 and the 2013 Verdelho.  I think this was our favorite location, up until this point.

We rounded our our trek with a stop at Mount Palomar, which was way up on a hill. The wines were just okay there, but the views were epic. Their chicken skewers with peanut butter dipping sauce were top notch, though.

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“Winter” in southern California.

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Thank you to Temecula Wines and FinerThingsLA!  I will definitely be back.

Favorite place to go wine tasting?

vinyasa, vino, & my fav L.A.-dy bloggers.

28 Jun

This past Tuesday, I was privileged to attend “Vinyasa y Vino,” hosted by Whitney of To Live and Diet in L.A. and One Medical Group at General Assembly in Santa Monica!

IMG_7369I have been reading Whitney’s blog for awhile now and love how she balances studying to become a Registered Dietician with fitness as well as having a lot of fun in LA!  We hadn’t met in person until Tuesday, so I was glad I was able to attend!

The event kicked off with a fabulous 45 minute yoga class led by Jake Ferree  of Aura Yoga.

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I loved Jake’s style and the pace of the class. Since I started studying for the bar, I have been mostly doing spin, body pump, and running and have let yoga fall away a little bit.  This class was so energizing and also calming and it felt SO WONDERFUL that it reminded me I need to do more yoga.

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{Photo Credit: Leigh Green Photography}

I will definitely check out Aura Yoga again post-bar!

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After the vinyasa came the vino!  I enjoyed a glass of Chardonay from One Hope Wine.IMG_7375Every bottle sold benefitted a different charity, which I thought was pretty cool.yoga_13{Photo Credit: Leigh Green Photography}

I also enjoyed some tasty passed appetizers from Luvo, and I just learned Luvo is now doing in-flight meals with Delta! Sort of makes me want to book a flight just to try it…

I spent the rest of the evening chatting with some of my favorite L.A.-dy (get it?) bloggers.  It was so nice seeing Gigi, Ashley, and Katy!   I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I love how blogging allows you to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise.  When I recently met Katy for the first time in April, it felt like meeting an old friend, so it was so great to see her again and meet her fiancé.  I tried to seem as not-weird as possible so he doesn’t think it’s weird Katy makes friends online…

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Katy and Me!

Whitney gave out some raffle prizes and passed out goodie bags to everyone full of some great products.  It was one of those “how cool is this?” experiences and I am so lucky I had the chance to go.  It was a much-needed Tuesday night break amidst monotonous and draining bar studying!

I can’t wait to try these Luvo frozen meals…Maybe not 100% paleo, but a good healthy option.

IMG_7386…And some of the awesome products in the goodie bags.   So far I’ve LOVED the cherry cashew pure bar, hint water (I was already a huge fan),   and I love this Clean Plates LA book!

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The co-host of the evening was One Medical Group, and we all were given a free one-year membership to check it out.  My primary care physician is in my hometown, so I may check it out!

Thanks again for a great Tuesday night vinyasa y vino sesh, Whitney!

What would you rather do to de-stress: vinyasa or vino? 

hidden [hollywood] gem.

10 Aug

Last night I discovered a hidden gem in East Hollywood – a geographic region of LA I didn’t even really know existed.  It’s just south of Los Feliz, and pretty much the stretch of Hollywood Blvd. known as “Thai Town.”  Anyway, my friend Eric invited me to check out the Friday Night Wine Tasting at Barnsdall Art Park.  It was awesome.

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We bought tickets online for $25, which came with a pretty cool wine glass, and the opportunity to taste four different wines from Silver Lake Wines. I am not the biggest wine-o (hello, IPAs, remember?) but the event was great.  There was a DJ mixing pop hits in a sort of laid-back/mellow way, and there were incredible views of Griffith and Hollywood.

The pours were also hefty.  I bee-lined for the line with the server wearing a cross-fit T-shirt, because I just recently took my first cross-fit class.  I think the guy felt like I was a member of the tribe or something because he hooked it up with the pours.

I took a screenshot of Barnsdall Park’s instagram to remember the wine we tried:

credit: Barnsdall Park Instagram

source: Barnsdall Park Instagram

My favorite ended up being the rosé which surprised me.  The chardonnay was “un-oaked” – I definitely prefer the oaked variety.  The reds were…red? Again, #BeerGirl.

The event was awesome and I’d definitely like to go back – this occurs every Friday through the end of the summer. There’s also a Frank Lloyd Wright house there that I’d love to tour at some point!

Barnsdall Park also brought in food trucks.  I hit up the Patty Wagon for a couple of sliders (the classic + the “mood indigo” which had bleu cheese, bacon, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms on a ciabatta roll) as well as their deliciously thin rosemary and garlic fries.

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I had seen on twitter that the Cool Haus truck was going to be there as well.  I enjoyed every bite of my ice cream sammy: snack food cookies with a scoop of chocovivo ice cream.

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Well I guess that pretty much rounds out my uber-LA evening . . . or day for that matter. (I saw a celebrity trainer while I was at cross-fit earlier. I now realize I have become a complete cliché). Back soon with some fitness updates 🙂

Important question: Wine or Beer? 

weekend warrior [a delayed recap].

2 Aug

This post is a little bit delayed – but for good reason! I had an insanely busy weekend last weekend, and this week has been packed full of work and school events. Here’s a recap of what went down last weekend.

On Saturday, my Dad, brother, and I met up for lunch in Sherman Oaks at the Blue Dog Beer Tavern. We went once last summer and apparently I ordered the same thing – the turkey chipotle sandwich, which was excellent.  My newly 21-year-old brother did most of the “day drinking.” Here he is with his “Raging Bitch” IPA.

On Saturday night, Aviva, Armita, Jenn and I had dinner in Brentwood, and then popped over to a local middle school for the Eat. See. Hear. presentation of “The Princess Bride.” If you can believe it, I’ve never seen the movie before! I enjoyed it, and now understand the “inconceivable!” references. I sipped on an IPA during the film. Sunday morning featured a trip out to Malibu Wines. I enjoyed the “light flight” and some picnic grub from Trader Joe’s. Afterward, I toured Aviva and Armita around my house and showed them my high school.

 

Later that night, my mom and I headed to the Hollywood Bowl to see “The Producers.” I’d never seen the movie or the musical before, but LOVED it. It was hilarious – and I have been going around quoting some of the lines since then. Dane Cook was really impressive in the role of Franz Liebkind – who knew he could sing or act!?

Tomorrow is my last day at my externship! It’s been a fun summer and I have learned a lot, but now I am gearing up for OCI (On-Campus Interviews) which start in the next few days. It will be a crazy week, but I am looking forward to it. Time to brush up on my interview and networking skills!

Here’s LAST week’s workouts:

  • Monday: Yoga
  • Tuesday: 3 mi. run + New Rules’ Body Weight Matrix
  • Wednesday: 4 mi. run
  • Thursday: 3 mile run + NROLFW 3B
  • Friday: 1000 m Swim
  • Saturday: 5 mi. run
  • Sunday: OFF

We have a random day off today so I am catching up on important TV (Bachelor Pad) and getting organized for the week ahead.

Happy (Almost) Weekend!

lucky number 13.

14 Jul

I had an unexpectedly eventful Friday the 13th – and not in a creepy way that one might expect. The day started with my typical morning at the Criminal Courts Building. For lunch, our judge and all of his courtroom staff (bailiff, clerk, court reporter, Deputy DA, and the public defender assigned to his room, plus the externs) all went out to lunch at the local (delicious) pizza place, Pitfire Artisan Pizza. I’d been there a few times before, and this time I chose a pizza off their list of specials.

You can literally never go wrong with heirloom tomatos.

heirlooms errywhere.

After work, I hopped over to the gym for a low-key 3 mile run on the T-mill and then another (low-key) swim workout (800 m total).

A few side-notes related to exercise:

  • Pool etiquette: I am relatively inexperienced and new at this whole swimming for exercise thing, but I am pretty sure lap pools are meant for swimming laps and not for monkey in the middle games played by pre-teens, or as a wading pool for middle-aged men. Does anyone else experience this at their gym? I am totally fine sharing a lane with someone, but I feel like the other person should be swimming. If not, get outta the pool.
  • Heel stomping?  I’ve had some weird knee, shin, and top-of-foot pain this week, and I am fairly certain it is from stomping around downtown LA all week (summer?) in heels. Any remedies for this?
 Anyway, I left the gym and met my mom for dinner. We walked over to Café Pinot, a lovely little outdoor spot at 5th and Grand. I felt like we were eating in NYC’s Bryant Park, except for that whole still being in LA thing. This place was super nice – what you’d call “bougie” even. I was not up to snuff in my cut-off shorts, post-pool hair, and lack of make-up. Living in LA for the win! Love that casual style rules all. #yessss. My mom had a few hours to kill before carpooling home with my Dad (he worked the late shift) so we relaxed over a nice dinner.

My mom ordered a Spanish wine (love that she’s a converted Spain-o-phile). Her wine was Monte Oton, Grenache, Borja, Spain. I didn’t know much about Borja (or even where it was). Kaley over at Y Mucho Más is the Spanish wine expert. My mom’s (super colorful and tasty) meal was actually an appetizer. She ordered the house cured citrus salmon [rainbow carrot confit, red onion, juniper berry gastrique, fingerling potatoes, crème fraîche]. One day I will know what a “gastrique” is. Today is not that day.

I stuck to tradition and went with a Green Flash West Coast IPA. The waiter asked if I’d tried this one before, to which I replied “hah. I’m an IPA fanatic.” I had a heavy lunch (see pizza, above) so I noshed on the asparagus salad. My mom and I eyed our neighbors’ desert and knew we had to have it, so we split the lemon cake at the end of our meal. We’re both suckers for ANYTHING lemon, and the addition of mango and passion fruit flavors were clutch.

Overall, I really liked Café Pinot. The flavors were super inventive and seasonally appropriate. The restaurant itself was a little more uppity than I like – especially for downtown, but the food and service lived up to the refined, high-class air.

After dinner, I headed to meet up with Aviva and Armita for a random but fun night.

crazy, monsoon-like weather produces this.

First, we headed to the Culver Hotel in Culver City. Downtown Culver City is adorable. Aviva had recently been to this place and noted their live jazz – each night they have something different going on. We need to go back for the 30’s Jazz night, as well as the contemporary stuff. This place was awesome – really great vibe, music, and delicious drinks.

I indulged with the waitress’ rec, the “red slipper” which was comprised of Absolut wild tea vodka, Beefeater gin, sweet and sour, Agave nectar & strawberry puree. Living dangerously pays off, this thing was incredible.

possibly better than the dorothy of oz version.

Aviva sipped an original mojito, and Armita went with a “flirtini.” Despite the girly name, this thing packs a punch – vodka, champagne, and a little cranberry juice.

Definitely worth a stop anytime you’re in Culver City!

After our drink at the hotel, we headed further west to a live music venue in Santa Monica called Central: A Social Aid and Pleasure Club. One of Aviva’s childhood friends is now an electronic music artist (!) so I was stoked to check it out.

The venue looked sketch from the outside but was truly awesome. It reminded me of some of the smaller bars in Madrid’s Malasaña district – with its quirky, indie vibe. We caught up with some of Aviva’s friends – including Charlie, aka the artist known as sahy uhns. (apparently pronounced “science,” which I think is pretty cool). His technique is also uniquely cool as well (love this article).

I really enjoyed his set! It was described to me as “intelligent dance music.” Definitely worth a listen (here) if you’re into this stuff. I definitely want to go to more shows (possibly his next show on Monday at The Echo). I was also stoked to learn that The Hood Internet is coming to Central in August! Boom!

By the time the night was over, we were all hungry so a stop at Swingers for some mac n cheese and sweet potato fries was key.

I went to bed super sleepy, but from a fun-filled Friday. I have also been listening to say uhns and The Hood Internet all day, too. #sorryimnotsorry  You should too.

Have you discovered any new venues or artists lately? 

Favorite late-night snack?

porto: hidden gem or overrated?

10 Dec

This past weekend, I took advantage of the “puente” and hopped on a 55-minute RyanAir flight from Madrid to Porto, in Northern Portugal. The RyanAir experience was better than I had anticipated. Yes, there’s tons of advertising inside and the Irish accented flight attendants are almost impossible to understand, but the flight was on time and easy. I chose to visit Porto because I fell in love with Lisbon when I visited in March 2009, and hoped Portugal’s second largest city would share some charming traits with its southern relative. Porto is situated along the Duoro River and is known for being the origin of Port wine. For four nights and five days, a few friends and I explored the highs and lows of Porto.

duoro. The river itself is worth a trip to Porto – it’s beautiful! We didn’t make it on the river itself, but a walk across the insanely high pedestrian bridge gave us more than enough epic views of the city.

port in porto. Port is definitely not my cup of tea, but the 4 euro tour and tasting we got at world-famous “Sandeman” (Famous for Pleasure, apparently) was more than worth it. We saw the barrels and vats, learned all about the intense aging process, and sampled a tawny and white Port. While I’ll stick to beer in the future, it was a unique and cool experience.

(fatty) food. One of the recommendations we received in terms of food was to try the “Francesinha” – a type of sandwich that literally translated means “little French woman.” While the result was something that is probably plastered all over http://www.thisiswhyyourefat.com, it was inevitably delicious. Bread, steak, ham, sausage, and “fresh sausage” as well as fresh melted cheese and a SPICY sauce. (Don’t even get me started on how great it is that Portugal knows how to use spice!) We had it our very first night there, as well as the following day so we could try the “Best Francesinha in Porto.” On our last night, my friend Laura and I ate a traditional dish called “Piri Piri Chicken” served to us by our hostel. Also delicious and spicy. Nom.

hostel hits and misses. We stayed at Porto Spot Hostel, a beautifully designed, relatively new place that was affordable, clean, had a delicious free breakfast (including a homemade pumpkin jam I’ll be trying to make next year around the holidays), and free wifi (when it worked, which was about half the time). The location was decent, about a 10 minute walk from the city center and 20 or so from the river. The people were friendly, the happy hour specials on the Portuguese beer I’m obsessed with, Super Bock, were impressive, and it was safe and comfortable. The hostel lacked a couple of things, though, that prevented Spot from replacing Lisbon’s Oasis Backpacker’s Mansion as my favorite hostel. While the staff was knowledgable in terms of directions, they suggested we go explore things that were either incredibly lame or closed. The hostel’s pub crawl wasn’t any great shakes either, but they get points for trying. All in all, Porto Spot Hostel gets a solid “B” rating in my book.

All in all, Porto was a fun and inexpensive getaway. While my one semester of Portuguese at Cal proved to be anything but helpful, it was fun to be in a place with different customs and routines. The rainy weather allowed some time for a trip to the (incredibly inexpensive) movies and indoor mall next to FC Porto’s stadium. We also discovered some great Portuguese pastries, delicious Ecuadorian chocolate, and ventured to an over-hyped Christmas market and a Crystal Palace that “doesn’t actually exist.”
If you’ve been to Porto, let me know what I left out! What are some other must-sees in Portugal in general?