Road Trip Diaries Part V: The Grand Finale

12.30.2014



During the last week in August, Ryan and I dropped the dogs off at boarding, packed up the Versa and embarked on a 5-day road trip through the southwest. Thousands of miles and 35 hours of driving took us through 5 states: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. After attending a beautiful wedding, we left Aspen and headed to our final destination: the Grand Canyon. 

The road out of Aspen was full of grays and greens - a cloudy sky and pine trees rising up on either side of us quickly ushered us out of Colorado and back into my favorite state.

Utah.

Spontaneous Happiness

12.29.2014


Right before the window closed on finishing 50 books in 2014, I read a PopSugar post about 40 Life Changing Books to Read in the New Year. As I read through the list, I realized that all of them were self-help books. Since reading is mostly an escape for me, unfortunately, I've never really found much value in those.

But one of the books, Spontaneous Happiness, sounded sort of interesting, because it was about nutrition and lifestyle and how they affect your mood. Knowing I might not finish it if I bought the paperback, I downloaded it on Audible and finished it a week before the year ended, making it my final "read" of 2014.

So was it life changing?

Gone Girl

12.22.2014


When I headed to Sayulita for vacation last month (was it only a month ago?), I decided to grab a book that would easily hold my attention whether it was poolside or on planes. Nothing too meaty, just a good story. And for that I decided to pick up Gone Girl, the blockbuster book that was, at the time, just being released as a future blockbuster movie by David Fincher (whom I absolutely love).

Naturally, I needed to read the book before I could see the movie and so vacation sounded like the perfect time to dive into one of the most popular novels of the past few years.

Mango Strawberry Mint Energy Smoothie

12.19.2014

Thanks to GNC PurEdge for sponsoring this post!

One of my takeaways from the Fast Metabolism Diet was how easy and delicious fruit smoothies are to make. And one of my favorite recipes is Hayley's Frozen Fat-Burning Mango Smoothie. It's so quick, refreshing and delicious in the mornings, that I find myself craving it on a fairly regular basis.

Since I first did the diet 9 months ago, I've customized the recipe through a couple of additions. First, I've found that not only does a 1/2 cup of strawberries make this smoothie taste perfect, but it makes it look pretty too! Kind of a like a sunset in a cup. Second, if I'm making this for breakfast, I figured, why not get a little boost? It will definitely help with morning workouts. So I've decided to start adding an energy supplement to the mix.

For this recipe, I tried GNC's new PurEdge Daily Energy, which comes in Cherry Limeade or Watermelon. I used the Cherry Limeade for this, but I may have to get the Watermelon because that combo sounds pretty on point. Throw it all into a single-serve blender that converts into a travel mug, and this whole thing will be ready and in your hand for your morning commute in under 10 minutes!

Ingredients
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop GNC PurEdge Daily Energy Supplement (Cherry Limeade or Watermelon)
  • 1 Meyer lemon, juiced
  • 2 fresh mint leaves
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup ice

1. Add the mango, strawberries, energy supplement, ice and water to the blender.
2. Juice the lemon and add to the blender, careful to strain out the seeds.
3. Tear the mint leaves to bring out the flavor and sprinkle on top.
4. Blend until smooth.

Hillcrest Taste 'N Tinis

12.16.2014



For whatever reason, this has been the year that I've finally started discovering all the holiday events that San Diego has to offer. For instance, a couple of weeks ago we went to the OB Holiday Parade for the first time. The parade is over 30 years old and it was super fun... we're even thinking about applying to participate next year!

And just this past week, I was invited to come check out and review Hillcrest's annual Taste 'N Tinis event. The Taste 'N Tinis tour of Hillcrest offered bites and sips at more than 30 stores and restaurants in Hillcrest. It was a great way to check out what's new to the neighborhood and to do some holiday shopping at the participating stores, all of which were running discounts.

Best of all, it was fun way to drink with my bestie!

Hey Brah, Feliz Navidad



One of my favorite local bands, Danny and the Tramp, was founded by two east coast imports like me. And like me, they're just as obsessed with this beautiful city of ours as I am. Which is why I was super stoked that they came out with a hilarious Christmas song about where I dig it the most, San Diego. ;)

Grab a taco (it's Tuesday after all), light up your palm tree (just kidding they only do that in Florida), and jam on to "Hey Brah, Feliz Navidad!"

The Gin Closet

12.08.2014


Here is a short and incomplete list of topics covered in this book: Alcoholism. Prostitution. Self-mutilation. Extramarital affairs. Eating disorders. Incest. Pregnant strippers. Rape. Child Molestation. Estranged family members. Sexual experimentation. Physical abuse. Abortions. Death. Suicide.

If reading that list seems emotionally exhausting, imagine what reading 270+ pages of that feels like.

Hint: not great.

Back to Home: An Interview with Tristan Prettyman

12.07.2014



Way back in 2005, on the other side of the country, I was working in the music department of a Borders bookstore. One day, one of the label reps came in and handed me 10 copies of an EP titled Love. He started talking about the artist, this girl from San Diego named Tristan Prettyman, and I can still remember how enthusiastic he was when he told me I was going to absolutely love her.

He had no idea how right he was.

Road Trip Diaries Part IV: Aspen Mountain Wedding

12.03.2014



During the last week in August, Ryan and I dropped the dogs off at boarding, packed up the Versa and embarked on a 5-day road trip through the southwest. Thousands of miles and 35 hours of driving took us through 5 states: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. In Part IV, we continue our stay in Aspen and celebrate a beautiful wedding at the top of Aspen Mountain.  

Saturday was the big day! The impetus for our trip was my cousin Brett's wedding at the top of Aspen Mountain and what an amazing day for a wedding it was! The air was crisp but warm and there was hardly a cloud in the sky.

My dad picked us up at the campgrounds and we headed to his room at Aspen Inn to get ready, then we met everyone over at the entrance to the Silver Queen Gondola. The Gondola is in the center of Aspen and normally operates as a ski lift during the winter season. During the summer however, you can take the Gondola for a 15-minute ride to the top of the mountain for picnics, disc golf, hikes, or just to take in the ridiculous views.

The morning of the wedding, however, it was only transporting all of the gorgeous wedding guests gathered at the base of Aspen Mountain. And as soon as we arrived at the summit, we could see why it was such a popular place to get married.

California Naturel

12.02.2014



Lately I have been paying a lot more attention to the ingredients in the beauty and hair products that I use everyday. I know that's been the cool kid thing to do for a while now, but I guess I just thought that being that conscious seemed time-consuming, inconvenient, and a little too hip.

Which is a shame because there's no better way to spend time than on taking care of yourself. Inconvenient truths are sometimes the most important kind. And if there's anything I don't have to worry about any time soon, it's being too hip.

This year I've definitely started making an effort into leading a healthier lifestyle in every way possible. From the foods I eat to exercise to the people I surround myself with and the chemicals that I'm exposed to in my household and beauty products. I've been educating myself, reading labels, and trying to find natural replacements for the things I use every day.

One of my first searches has been for new face wash and moisturizer. That's when I stumbled across California Naturel, headquartered right here in California, all the way up the coast in Sausalito.

#GIRLBOSS

12.01.2014



Most of the time, I get packages delivered to my office. Such was the case when I had my first order from Nasty Gal delivered a few years ago. Little did I know that "NASTY GAL" would be splashed across the packaging in an incriminating font.

Obvs, I made a point to stress to everyone who saw me shamefully carry the box back to my desk that it was clothes, just totally normal clothes, I swear... Still. Because of that, I didn't really order from Nasty Gal much in the years that followed. I wasn't super impressed by the quality vs the price and it wasn't totally my style anyway.

But recently, Nasty Gal and it's CEO, Sophia Amoruso, started popping up everywhere. Everyone on social media was reading Amoruso's book, #GIRLBOSS, and then my friends started reading it too. By the time my friend Raina chose it for our company's book club selection, I was intrigued enough to give it a shot.

Off the Grid at Agua Caliente

11.30.2014




Days before Thanksgiving, the hum begins. It's pressure, it's excitement, it's stress, anxiety, joy, determination, loneliness, nostalgia, merriment, and sometimes fear. No matter what the holidays and the year's end bring, it always arrives in a noisy cacophony of emotions, mental checklists, and memories.

And yet, this past weekend, it was completely quiet.

Our friends Bonnie and Jason are camping pros and this year they decided to do Thanksgiving, turkey and all, out in the desert, at Agua Caliente County Park, about two hours east on the 8. While Ryan, the dogs, and I celebrated with Ryan's parents in San Diego on Thursday, we decided to camp out with Bonnie and Jason in the days following Thanksgiving.

I thought camping would be a good way to muffle all the seasonal noise that always seems to drown out the long Thanksgiving weekend. I just had no idea how good it would be.

Restaurant Review: Wang's North Park

11.24.2014


"There is no good Chinese food in San Diego." - Me, anytime before last Wednesday

Do you know how many times I've made that (mostly unfounded) declaration? A lot. Good Chinese food, along with even remotely decent bagels, chicken parm subs, and pizza, was something I thought I'd left behind on the east coast. And in the past 4 years, I've managed to find secret spots for each of those foods. Except Chinese.

Good Japanese food or Thai? San Diego knocks those out of the park. I have so many favorites, I wouldn't even know where to start recommending places. But good Chinese food has eluded me here.

And then I went to Wang's North Park.

Not only did I find good Chinese food... but I think I found the best Chinese food in San Diego.

Oh, and may I add, some of the best craft cocktails...

Sayulita Life: Hotel Villas Sayulita & Health Center

11.21.2014

pc: Angel

When I left Sayulita after a week's stay earlier this year, I had no idea when I'd be back. And I definitely didn't think I'd end up spending another week there only 9 months later.

But that's exactly where I found myself two Saturdays ago: on the first day of a week-long yoga retreat right in Sayulita.

I've spent the past week back at home sorting through photos and organizing my reflections from that trip into posts. And I'm so excited to share all of them. Starting with the gorgeous hotel that was our home for 8 days,

When Ryan and I went to Sayulita for our Valentine's Day vacation, we split our time between two hotels: Petit Hotel Hafa, right in the heart of town, and Playa Escondida, a resort that was a 10 minute drive from the town. And honestly, there were things about each place that we liked and things that we thought could have been better.

For instance, at Hafa, the bustle of the town (and that damn gas truck) woke us up at the crack of dawn each morning, with no regard for our hangovers. And though Escondida had that relaxing resort feel, it was inconveniently far from town when we needed to head in for something.

This time, during the week of the retreat, I stayed at the beautiful Villas Sayulita & Health Center, and honestly? This hotel combined the best of both worlds.

Gluten-Free Caprese Mini Sliders

11.06.2014


Every year around this time, I begin scouring Pinterest for quick and tasty appetizers that I can bring to any one of the many seasonal gatherings we find ourselves running off to.

Between football Sundays and Friendsgivings, birthdays and White Elephants, work and Christmas shopping and visiting with friends and family who are in town just for the holidays, November and December are hectic enough. Then, in the midst of all that, I have to try to find time to prepare a tasty, unique food offering to bring to a party, and oh yeah, one that meets everyone's various dietary restrictions.

But this year? This year I will nail it.

Shoppped: TOPSHOP Fashion Valley

11.05.2014


IT'S HERE!

Do you know what happiness is? Happiness is falling in love with a store, a perfect, beautiful store while you're studying abroad in London. And then having that store open its third U.S. location in the city where you now live. And then being invited by said store to come and shop before the doors are opened to the public. And then getting champagne and a personal stylist to assist you while you do so. And THEN going to the launch party where you get to meet Devendra Banhart, drink for free and dance all night with your friends.

That, my friends, is happiness. And I am so, SO happy.

Topshop Fashion Valley is finally, wonderfully, dangerously open, but if you want a little sneak peek before you head to the mall, well, I'd love to share my happiness with you...

Represent

11.04.2014


Ocean Beach Tank c/o: SD Luv Co. // Cardigan: Billabong // Aviators c/o: Oakley Womens

A couple of snaps from our Sunday Funday this past weekend. Nothing beats the view from Wonderland in OB. And nothing beats day drinking with the people you love.

Thanks to SD Luv Co. for helping me rep my new hood with this ridiculously comfy tank. See what designs they have for your neighborhood here

Edie: An American Biography

11.03.2014


Sometime last year, Mucho Mucho Bueno Bueno shared their current read: a biography on Edie Sedgwick, socialite and model from the 1960s. Being a fan of Sedgwick, as well as a lover of all things '60s pop culture, I was intrigued. I ordered it and two days later, Edie: American Girl showed up. Like most of the books on my bookshelf, I didn't get to it for a while. This summer, I finally picked it up and it. was. awesome.

Road Trip Diaries Part III: Ring My Maroon Bells

10.23.2014

The view from inside our pashmina-curtained car camping set up

During the last week in August, Ryan and I dropped the dogs off at boarding, packed up the Versa and embarked on a 5-day road trip through the southwest. Thousands of miles and 35 hours of driving took us through 5 states: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. In Part III, we are waking up in Aspen after a long day of driving through Utah.

When Ryan and I told people we were car camping for the wedding we were attending in Aspen, we got a lot of looks. Looks that said it maybe wasn't the best plan. And that might have scared me off the idea.

That is, if we hadn't done it before.

Similarly, the last time we road tripped to a wedding, we decided to camp. During that trip, to Big Sur in 2012, we also arrived at our campsite in the middle of the night, in pitch black darkness. So this time, just like before, we had absolutely no idea what we were going to be waking up to.

Motivation Monday: I Run This Beach

10.20.2014

Thanks to Skechers for sponsoring this post!

I thought of the title for this post as I was sweating my way down the Ocean Beach Pier this morning, but in the effort of full transparency: I jogged this beach and collapsed into a sweaty, gasping mess the moment I returned to my front steps. 

Did I mention this was a 2.5 mile run?

Needless to say, I'm a little out of shape. The move, school, work... all of it has taken its toll and rendered me completely useless in the fitness department. But with the move over last week and school ending this past weekend, I woke up and realized I had no excuse. 

More importantly, I had a reason. 

Road Trip Diaries Part II: Dinosaur Discovery

10.14.2014


During the last week in August, Ryan and I dropped the dogs off at boarding, packed up the Versa and embarked on a 5-day road trip through the southwest. Thousands of miles and 35 hours of driving took us through 5 states: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. Part II picks up as we were leaving Las Vegas.

High off of the stoke from learning that my iPad was returned safe and sound, I offered to drive for the first leg of the day as we headed from Nevada through a tiny corner of Arizona and into Utah.

The rest of Nevada was fairly desolate... Flat stretches of nothingness until we hit Mesquite, a border town between Nevada and Arizona which is full of golf courses, spas, and retirement homes. I felt like we could see all of Mesquite from the freeway and it wasn't too impressive. Which is good to know since I always see Groupon deals for weekend getaways there. Guess I can cross it off my list!

As we moved through Arizona into Utah though, the landscape started to get interesting. Gorgeous rock formations with bright colors lined the highway. In some sections, we drove on roads that felt like they were carved out of the rock, like little pavement rivers.

Entering Utah at the two hour mark, with even more stretches of rock before us, Ryan turned to me and said, "Do you think there were ever T Rexes walking through this exact place?" And thanks to road trip magic, a few miles later, we got our answer.

Can't Stop, Won't Stop Moving

10.03.2014




It's like I got this music in my mind, and that music is Taylor Swift. Nonstop. This "Shake It Off" business is addictive.

And in all actuality, these lyrics are kind of the story of my life right now. A few weeks ago Ryan and I found out that we had to move unexpectedly. It didn't take too long to find a place that checked off all of our boxes, but moving itself has taken for. ev. er. I literally (fine, figuratively) can't stop moving. We got the keys to our new place on September 18th and have moved something every day since. And we still have more to do!

In the midst of all the chaos, the "Where the hell is the corkscrew!?"s, and the stares from coworkers who are starting to realize I've been wearing variations of one outfit for two weeks because I don't know where any of my clothes are, I've had to make a serious effort to force myself to look on the bright side.

For starters, we now live one block from the ocean in one of the most perfect little beach towns I could ever imagine. So basically, all my dreams have come true. Our dogs are happier, Ryan can start surfing regularly again, the air is cleaner, there's more to do in town...

But best of all? We have 10 new neighbors to say hello to!

Restaurant Review: Cafe Cantata, Del Mar

9.26.2014


For the past six months, it's been hard to leave work at lunch time. There's construction going on in our office park, so if you leave at any point during the day, you're basically kissing your parking spot goodbye. But when I was invited to check out Cafe Cantata, a gorgeous little coffee shop and eatery in Del Mar at the Flower Hill Promenade, I decided it was worth the risk.

Not that I ended up having to worry: my friend Diane and I had been trying to find time to get lunch together and when I asked her if she'd like to try Cafe Cantata with me, she offered to drive. As we walked up to the comfy little shop, I immediately fell in love with the space. 

This is the perfect coffee shop to work in...

Road Trip Diaries Part I: Famous Last Words

9.25.2014


During the last week in August, Ryan and I dropped the dogs off at boarding, packed up the Versa and embarked on a 5-day road trip through the southwest. Thousands of miles and 35 hours of driving took us through 5 states: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. And it all started in good 'ol San Diego.

Back at the beginning of the summer, I found out some very exciting news: my cousin Brett was getting married to his long-term boyfriend Massimo over Labor Day weekend. And the best part? For once a family wedding was closer to me than it was to the east coast! #itsallaboutme 

I was so excited not only to celebrate Brett and Mass and their beautiful future, but also to spend time with family I hadn't seen in a while. Even better yet? My dad (who hardly ever lets himself take vacations) was going too. Needless to say, I enthusiastically RSVPed "Yes!" 

Then I looked at flights to Aspen and lodging options. 

Did you know that Aspen is an incredibly expensive place? I didn't. Flights were like $700pp round trip and hotels were starting at $200/night. Even AirBnB was expensive there. Then it hit me: this was a perfect excuse to take a road trip. We booked the last camp site in Aspen, figured out our route and started to get excited about our long weekend on the open road. 

The day that we left, I got a ride to work from my coworker and had Ryan pick me up at the office after a half day of work. Which, I might add, I spent downloading music and stand-up comedy to my iPad, because you know... we had 35 hours of driving time ahead of us. Ryan got there, we said adios to my coworkers and headed out to the car. 

That's when it happened. 

Taste of Thrillist San Diego

9.24.2014



Is not having cable still a hipstery thing to brag about or is it just commonplace at this point? Whatever the case, I haven't had it in over a decade and so if a TV show isn't on Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, HBO Go, or Showtime Anytime, I don't know what you're talking about. Even if it is, with the exception of a brief, shameful period where I was really into Teen Mom, I haven't seen any reality TV.

But in San Diego, you don't need to have watched Top Chef to know who Brian Malarkey is. The superstar chef is the talent behind hot spots such as Searsucker and Herringbone, and even if I wasn't a foodie, I don't think I could avoid the buzz. Besides, my boyfriend's business provides knife sharpening services for his restaurants and my friend Jon of Lovelife often DJs sunset sessions at both the LA and San Diego Herringbone. Bottom line: I don't need to watch the show to know he's my favorite Top Chef!

Hence my excitement when Thrillist offered Ryan and I a pair of tickets to their Hotel Thrillist: Taste of Thrillist event last Friday at the Hard Rock Hotel downtown. The event was hosted by Brian and featured off-the-menu tastings from some of San Diego's top restaurants including Searsucker, Puesto, Slater's 50/50, and Salt and Cleaver. Obviously, I didn't hesitate to say yes and it's a good thing I didn't.

Endless Summer

9.10.2014


Around here, it's been an endless summer in every possible way: the great, the meh, and the ugly crying. I haven't had time to sleep, much less blog, which is driving me nuts because blogging is all I want to do.

Yet every time I go to post and break the dry spell, I end up feeling overwhelmed with all of the things I want to write about. So this morning I decided to finally bite the bullet and just get something up to get back in the swing of things. As a result, I present to you a recap of the aforementioned highlights and lowlights of this summer:

The Great

  • We spent an amazing five days in Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Arizona: a night on the roulette tables in Vegas, touching dino tracks in Utah, camping in bear country, attending a gorgeous wedding in Aspen, and watching the sunset over the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It was the perfect summer road trip and I can't wait to share!
  • I sucked it up (read: got drunk) and finally committed to going on the Mermaid Yogis retreat down to Sayulita in November! Even though it is a big financial and time commitment and even though I am still working on becoming a better yogi and better swimmer, I am wayyyy stoked about this trip. Getting to go back to Sayulita, making new friends, and trying all kinds of adventures... I'm sooo ready to pack my bags. 
  • Babies everywhere! Two of my friends moved back to San Diego with their baby and another close friend just had her baby recently. I still could not care less about random babies, but damn my friends' babies are. the. cutest.
  • Pool parties, surreal sunsets, reggae shows at Winston's in OB, taking advantage of end-of-summer bikini sales, trying new restaurants if only to bask in their AC.... these are the things summer has been made of and they've been glorious.


The Meh

  • Oh, work. Work has been ridiculous. I haven't ever had work permeate every minute of my life the way that it has this summer and it's been exhausting. It's sucked every last creative molecule out of my body this past month and has definitely been the main cause of this blogging dry spell. Here's to hoping I wrap some projects up and make things a little more balanced this fall.
  • A total lack of exercise and healthy eating and a general feeling of ugh-ness as a result of the above. 
  • School started up again and let me tell you, Business Strategy is not as fun as it sounds. I know.... shocker. 


The Ugly Crying

  • We're moving. And it's too early on in the process for me to be excited about our new place in Ocean Beach, though honestly.... there's a lot to be excited about. But we love, love, love our place in Mission Hills. We've spent the past 2 years making it into a home and to have to move unexpectedly has just not been easy for me to handle. Our landlady passed away last year and her family just decided to sell the property to a company that specializes in upgrades. Rather than get kicked out at an inopportune time (like the holidays) and try to find a place to live with two decent-sized dogs, we jumped on a place in OB that's a block from the beach. The beach! I should be excited since I've wanted this literally my whole life. But instead I'm just a stressed out, depressed mess. My neighborhood is the only one I've ever lived in in San Diego and Ryan's lived there for the past 6 years. This will be a huge change for both of us and it's super unsettling, at least for me anyway. I just have to keep reminding myself that home is wherever Ryan and the pups are. Plus, I do love creating new Pinterest boards for decorating spaces! 

Vans US Surf Open 2014

8.03.2014


Can I just say that surf contests are amazing? I mean, at what other sporting event do you have your pick of free front row seats to watch pro athletes? And soft, sandy beach seats at that?! It's exciting and unpredictable and relaxing and meanwhile you can bring your own food, take a nap during the heats you don't care about, get a tan...

This may just be the sporting event for me.

From A Rented Room On 9th Street

8.02.2014




It's far from quiet in our little AirBnB room on 9th Street in Huntington Beach. There's the rain, for one. The cars splash through it every few minutes. There's intermittent fireworks, fragments of drunken conversations. Our middle-aged male host is downstairs on the couch making out with a women with short blonde hair. Our Finnish housemate is laying on her bottom bunk bed in the next room, flicking through her cell phone with the lights on and the doors open. Ryan has a pillow on his face trying to block out the noise and the light. I have my MacBook screen on minimum brightness, my headphones in, lowly playing one of my favorite albums, Gregory Alan Isakov's "That Sea, The Gambler".

We're up here for the Vans US Surf Open, something I'd daydreamed about as a 16, 17-year-old surf-culture-obsessed wannabe who was trapped on the wrong coast. I worked in a mall at the time and went to Hollister on my breaks to sit and watch the Huntington Beach webcams they played on projector screens in the store.

The vibes here and the town itself isn't exactly what I thought it would be like, but then again, not much has been since I moved here. It's been different and better, unsaturated and surprising. Sometimes you need to dig up the things you worshipped in your youth to see what they really are... sometimes they put the things you aspire to now in perspective.

At the end of the day, you create your life. If you don't want to have regrets, your best bet is to leave nothing unexplored.

The Unsinkable Bri

8.01.2014


I can't swim. Do you know how long that's been my mantra? 28 years.

I had a couple of really scary experiences with water as a kid and at some point it just became my thing: I couldn't swim. I avoided pool parties as a teenager, terrified of having to explain it or that someone throw me in the pool. I wore life jackets whenever I was on a boat. I stayed in knee-deep waters when all my friends went rushing into whatever lake or ocean we were playing in. I couldn't swim and that was OK.

Except that I had always wanted to surf. Like, desperately wanted to. Not to mention... I live in San Diego.

Dog Days of Summer

7.30.2014


I'm kind of obsessed with my dogs.

It's a real problem. At work, I daydream about cuddling with their fluffy little faces and when I'm at home, I can't stop bugging them. They are the most hilarious, adorable little nuggets in the world and that makes it hard to ever leave them.

Unfortunately, during the summer, we have to. A lot.

Between weddings and vacations and concerts and weekend getaways, we find ourselves scrambling constantly to try and find friends to dogsit them or making boarding reservations. And because they're rescue dogs, I always feel guilty bringing them to the boarders. So last night, we decided to do a trial run of something different.

Missing Sayulita

7.23.2014




It's shocking to me that we were only in Sayulita five months ago. It feels like it's been years since that trip... in some ways, maybe it has. I left my job, started a new job, left that job and came back to my old company in a new job. I started, suffered through and finished another MBA class. I did the Fast Metabolism Diet, went to Coachella, attended two weddings and threw a baby shower. All of these things required so much planning and time and sometimes effort that looking back, I can't believe they were all crammed into the past few months.

My body believes it though. I woke up today and I just felt tired. And tired had me craving Mexican beaches and lazing around town, downing cervezas. Sayulita was so perfectly relaxing and Ryan and I had such a great time there. Today, I missed it so much that only one thing could cheer me up: photos.

A Visit From The Goon Squad

7.21.2014


There aren't many novels that I'd recommend to everyone. Sure, there are novels that I'd recommend to some people and novels that I'd recommend to others, but only a handful of novels meet my criteria for across-the-board recommendation. One of these is the 2010 mega-hit, "Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen. And it just so happens that the latest novel to make my list is the other 2010 mega-hit, 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winner "A Visit From the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan.

I've spent the last couple of weeks tearing through Goon Squad in progressive stages of discomfort: sweating on the bench in my yard with a breeze, sweating on the bed with a fan, and sweating on the couch with no fan, respectively. It's been humid here.

Or rather, I should say, "humid." My friends in the Northeast would probably hit me if they caught me complaining about what humidity is to me these days. Regardless, this book does what any ideal summer reading should do: it makes you completely forget about how hot you are.

Orange Is the New Opening Day

7.18.2014


God, I love Opening Day! For those of you non-San Diegans, Opening Day is the first day of the race season at the Del Mar racetrack. It's also one of the biggest social events of the summer, complete with fancy dresses, big hats and lots of champy. And I love that you can bump into at least a handful of people you know... further proof that San Diego is the smallest big city there is. 

This year we headed to the track with Ryan's parents and their friends and had an absolute blast, as was to be expected. As they say, there was a winner in every race and for all the races I bet on, that winner was me.

Shopped: Oakley Gaslamp

7.16.2014


For most San Diegans, the Gaslamp (aka Downtown) is for tourists. To them, it's the equivalent of going to Times Square in NYC or Grauman's Chinese Theater in LA. And the Gaslamp in July? You can't throw a craft beer without hitting a bachelor/ette party, a group of foreigners, or a man in a Marvel costume. If you live here, it's to be avoided at all costs during the summer.

Which is really too bad, because there are tons of great restaurants and shops in the Gaslamp that we should be taking advantage of. And one of those shops is the Oakley store on Fifth Ave.

A lot of girls seem to have the wrong idea about Oakley. They think it's just another Billabong or Roxy surf brand style of apparel. Which couldn't be further from the truth: Oakley is a performance sports apparel brand. Sure, yeah they have the SoCal vibe; after all, they're headquartered just up the 5 in Orange County. But Oakley is for athletes. And with easy access to their new collections at their Gaslamp store, it's a shame more San Diego runners don't know that.

Motivation Monday: Neon Dash 5K

7.14.2014


I think I'm finally starting to get this whole "fun run" thing. Yes, for most people those two words don't belong next to each other. But even for runners, for the people who actually like running, I don't feel like those people (listen to me ... "those people") run for fun anymore. They run because they're training for something or because they're trying to lose weight or because they need to de-stress. That's not fun, that's work. 

Saturday night I did my first real "fun run" ever. The closest I've ever come to a fun run before was the Aloha 5K last September which for me was all about getting back in the running saddle post-marathon. For everyone else though, it had the intended purpose: dress up in silly costumes and go get some exercise with your friends before brunch. However, I ran it and wrote my whole race review from a runner's perspective: too many kids, not enough room to get around people, where was the runner's etiquette?, etc. 

Jeez, lady, get over yourself.... 

Well, I did. And that led me to the Neon Dash

Shopped: Free People Fashion Valley

7.10.2014


Say what you will about their prices, but I love Free People.

I love their clothes, I love their ads, I love their blog, I love their stores. They just provide such a great shopping experience: a respite from the doldrums of my daily corporate existence, made out of the same stuff as my boho daydreams. Their clothes are gorgeous and unique, combining femininity with a wild independence. And their store installations.. I mean... really. I die.

I was ec. stat. ic. when I found out they were opening a new store in the Fashion Valley mall, the mall that's closest to my little San Diego home. And even more amped when they told me I could visit before the doors opened to the public last Saturday.

Star Spangled Rice Krispie Treats

7.03.2014


I don't think there's anything more American than Rice Krispie treats. Except for maybe football and reality television. But if you're still looking for something to make for your 4th of July BBQ tomorrow, look no further.

This recipe will make about 9 star-shaped Rice Krispie treats. A couple of years ago we made 3 batches for a total of 27 treats and there wasn't a single one left over!

Star Spangled Rice Krispie Treats
(adpated from this recipe)

  • 6 cups of crispy rice cereal 
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • White frosting
  • Blue frosting
  • Red sugar
  • Star-shaped cookie cutter
  • Wax paper
  • Cookie sheet
  • Rolling pin

1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, then stir in the marshmallows until completely melted.
2. Add the crispy rice cereal and stir until coated.
3. Place wax paper onto a cookie sheet and pour mixture onto paper. Place another piece of wax paper on top and roll out mixture with rolling pin until the mixture is flat and about an inch thick.
4. Use the cookie cutter to cut out the stars. Combine the scraps and roll out again to use as much of the mixture as possible. Note: This part can be tricky especially as the mixture cools. 
5. Decorate with frosting and sugar. 

Saltwater Buddha

7.02.2014


For the past decade, ever since I worked in a bookstore, I've promised myself about once a month that I'm not going to buy any new books until I read the ones I own. Naturally, it hasn't worked out that way. 

Which is why I was so proud of myself when I finally picked "Saltwater Buddha" up off my bookshelf a month or so ago and started reading it.  I've had this book for what seems like forever, but Amazon tells me that I bought it in July of 2012. 

So, I mean, it only took me two years to get around to reading it. 

#TacoTuesday: Sayulita Tacos Roundup

7.01.2014


Mmmm tacos. When we were in Sayulita we made a valiant effort to try as many taco places as possible. We asked for recommendations from locals, we researched online, and we stumbled into places. Our goal was to try at least a taco a day. 

Sadly, there's only so many tacos a person can eat over the course of a week. No matter how delicious most of them were. 

The Second You Start to Take Something Seriously...

6.27.2014


...it loses all of its magic. 

It's been a while since Californication was worth quoting, but as I sat there loyally suffering through the last few episodes of its final season this past weekend, this line stood out. Hank asks his boss why he doesn't pursue his music outside of a hobby and this is Rath's rationale: "The second you start to take something seriously, it loses all of its magic."

I've battled with my creative energy my entire life. It can be all-consuming at times and during those times I begin to resent it because my need and desire to engage in creative endeavors feels like unproductive activity. And I'm a stress-addicted Millennial with 1.5 Master's Degrees and a guilt complex around wasting my time doing anything that doesn't produce "success" in some way for me.

I know, I know, first world problems, right?

Anyway, eventually, without fail, I try to monetize my hobbies. I enjoyed sewing so I started an Etsy store for tote bags that I made. I enjoyed writing so I went to Hunter to try and meet the right people and get noticed by an agent and make connections for a literary career. I enjoyed going to concerts and reading, so I started doing freelance music and book reviews.

Unfortunately, each time that I try to monetize something or "take it seriously," I become very overwhelmed by it. I get intimidated by all of the people who have been doing it better or longer than me. I take rejections harder, the hobby starts to become a chore. It usually ends with me giving up the hobby altogether because it stresses me out too much.

Over the past couple of months, I started to do this with this blog. A few opportunities came my way and I was able to make some money. And then more started piling up and I started getting very serious and equally stressed out about it. And then my best friend texted me and made a casual comment about how there had been so many sponsored posts and it hit me.

This blog had turned into a part-time job.

I didn't just write when or what I wanted to anymore... I had an editorial schedule with a purpose. Instead of using Motivation Monday posts as a vehicle for accountability for me and inspiration for my readers, I had to schedule them around fitness sponsors. Then I even stopped working out altogether and just posed in the clothes they sent me. I didn't have time to work out... I had to go to this networking event or that grand opening party. I had drafts of fun posts, like cheesy DIY projects I'd done, that I kept pushing out because I had paid posts to get up. I felt fake and stressed out and guilty.

Boo hoo. I'm making a small profit, partying and I get free stuff. It's dumb to complain about. But then something worse happened.

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