Beignets & booze 

New Orleans, Louisiana. You guys.

What a fun city to spend a weekend in; particularly a bachelorette party!

34781084_10106147335751680_8506448970455711744_n

A few girls from California flew out to meet a few girls from the east coast in New Orleans. We were all there to celebrate one special lady, Lauren, and her “last fling before the ring.”

I flew out with Lauren, her sister, and our other friend – who is also named Ashley – early Friday morning. After a minor detour to Mississippi for gas, due to a thunder storm above the New Orleans airport when we were landing (major oversimplification but whatever!), we arrived in the late afternoon. We had about a hour to hustle and get ready before dinner with the whole group.

34752547_10106148874478060_37338607425421312_n

Although we didn’t stay directly in the French Quarters, we were a quick walk from there at the J.W. Marriott. We were at Red Fish Grill in less than 10 and bottles of wine were already waiting there for us from the sweet bachelor himself (thanks, Ian!). In retrospect, I wish I ordered something distinctly Southern, like the redfish or jambalaya, but I opted for the sugar cane glazed chicken instead. Which was good (!) but doesn’t seem too authentic…

New Orleans is like Las Vegas and you can walk around with alcohol. Which was lucky for us because we had leftover wine. We were given some to-go cups and hit the mean streets of NOLA with our wine in tow.

First stop was the Carousel Bar which was, sadly, underwhelming to say the least. Looking at pictures online, it must have been broken (or something?) because I remember it being a dark bar with barely moving seats.

To compensate, we took a whole bunch of bathroom pics. As you do.

img_20180608_220046

We hit up a few bars after for some shots and light dancing but the evening came to an abrupt halt when someone STOLE a member of our party’s wallet! UGH.

We filed a police report and headed back to the hotel. (Full transparency, we also stopped at a McDonalds on the way back and I may or may not have ate a large fry with BBQ sauce… guess I won’t be going for 2 years of NO FAST FOOD after all. Hah)

The next morning we had brunch at the iconic Brennan’s. If you’re a fan of banana’s foster – and I didn’t know I was until I tried it at Brennan’s – this is the place for you; BECAUSE it was invented there. And, well, it’s delicious.

img_20180609_112219

img_20180609_131338
b-a-n-a-n-a-s

Brennan’s was good and it was cool to eat there but the service was sloooow. Despite the 3 hours we spent there (!) I would recommend trying it out. If only because it is such a part of New Orlean’s history. I later watched a documentary about Ella Brennan on Netflix that I also recommend!

Also, side note, the coffee in New Orleans… next level. I loved the chicory in it and snagged a few bags to enjoy with my Grandpa in San Diego at the end of the month and my in-laws when they are in town for the 4th. 🙂

(Mike isn’t a coffee drinker! …is chicory tea a thing?)

img_20180609_113350

After brunch, my close friend Leslie and I went on a cemetery and garden district walking tour. We went through the company Two Chicks and our guide was great! Plus, it’s a company owned by 2 chicks women, so happy to support.

img_20180609_140454
Look close to see all of the beads in the tree!

We started in the cemetery where we learned that it is a common misconception that the graves are built above ground because New Orleans is under sea level. Basically the sea level issue is a minor reason for above ground tombs and it has more to do with space than anything else.

img_20180609_143040

When a family member died, they were placed in the tomb and given a year and a day to decompose. After they hit the year and a day milestone and when the next family member died, the tomb would be opened and the remains of the already decomposed would be placed in a mesh bag and stored in the back of the tomb. This process repeated itself and allowed for a lot more family members to be buried in the same space, as oppose to a whole tomb for every person. Instead they all shared; fully decomposing together.

And for that person wondering – what if a family member died before the year and a day cutoff for the tomb to be re-opened? – families could rent a wall vault in the interterm.

Another interesting thing we learned was that many bodies actually ended up being stolen by medical students so they could examine them. Creepy.

img_20180609_142908
The tomb that inspired Interview with a Vampire

Next up was a stroll through the gorgeous streets on the garden district. Celeb house sighting included!

img_20180609_151442
Nicolas Cage’s old house before #IRSissues
img_20180609_153352
The Manning household
img_20180609_154032
John Goodman’s full-time residence
img_20180609_154721
Sandra Bullock’s house!
img_20180609_155207
The house that Benjamin Button was filmed in
image
Another Brennan family restaurant, Commander’s Palace. Go watch that documentary!

After 2 hours of walking in humid weather, it was time for a drink and some apps! Les lives in Nashville and I don’t see her as often as I would like to 😦 so it was nice to catch up a little bit.

img_20180609_173733

img_20180609_163923
Crawfish and artichoke dip y’all

We hurried back to the hotel after to get ready for dinner at , which was another 3 hours btw (Southern dining!) hahah. I can’t complain though; the laughs were effortless, the food was delicious, and the drinks were flowing.  Also, a huge thank you to the bride-to-be’s parents who generously picked up the tab!

img_20180609_222908
Me and the star of the show!

After dinner I think we were all walking the line between, crash back at the hotel or RAGE. I’m happy to report we decided to saunter over to Razoos to get down.

…That morning I woke up and was like, no shots. When we walked into Razoos, Leslie and I immediately took 2 shots and bought one for the bachelorette. Because that’s how bach parties go.

Suffice to say, the night was dance (and vodka) filled. It was also Pride Week so everyone was in festive, happy spirits.

img_20180610_002558
The most sober picture of the night

After another run in with fast food (NOT SORRY, I WOULD HAVE BEEN SO HUNG OVER WITHOUT IT), we were back at the hotel.

On Sunday morning the general consensus was beignets and “byyyyyyeee. New Orleans was a great time but it was time to go home.

We gathered our beads, dumped out the last of the bubbles, popped the unmentionable balloon decorations, and filled up on caffeine and airport burritos to fuel us back to California. Until next time, nola! ✌️

img_20180610_101753

34963371_10161463623785643_202691429527453696_o.jpg
Beignets, booze, and besties (with no makeup) 🙂 Love ya, Lauren! 

Friday Favorites – May

Subscriptions and online shopping are still proving to be a favorite for me this year. I tried out 2 new online shipping services this month because I have a problem. The first one was from Brandless where everything is only $3. What a steal right!?

Their spiel is that they’ve removed the brand tax that we pay for products from other companies. Therefore, everything is “brandless” and can be $3. I honestly did zero research on this and I’m sure buying some products via their service aren’t much of a savings but I still like the idea. Plus a lot of their stuff is organic; including their panty liners!

img_20180504_202410

I ordered a pretty random assortment of stuff (see pics) and haven’t used everything yet. But I can say the quinoa is gone and the crushed pepper & truffle oil popcorn is life changing! I am a savory snacker and this stuff hits the spot.

I’m not sure if I’ll be ordering from Brandless again but I think it would make a cool gift idea. And it is worth it to try once, just for something new.

img_20180504_202605

I also tried Grove Collaborative.  Mainly because I got a free bundle for being a Skimm reader. Although, my values align their mission so I would like to support the company moving forward.

img_20180530_113913
Everything on the right was free. Score!

I had to spend $20 to get my bundle (which included all of the Mrs. Meyer’s products, the dish brush, and the spray bottle). To get there, I ordered the Seventh Generation disinfecting wipes (they’ll be gone in like, a week); more Schmidt’s deodorant (a past Friday Favorite); and Bon Ami powder cleanser (this purchase was a whim but worked wonders on my kitchen sink).

After I got my order I paused the automatic renewal feature because I’m not ready for that level of commitment. Hah. But I will be using them again to order non-toxic household products.


New earrings

img_20180520_150201.jpg

I rarely wear earrings because my ears are super sensitive. I need a good metal that doesn’t irritate my ears and never really want to spend the money on that investment. My mom recently gave me a $50 Amazon gift card and I decided to try to find some affordable, quality studs.

I ended up with these tiny pyramid earrings and… what gems! They were under $14! I think they are so cute and, most importantly, they don’t bother my ears. Plus Lemon Grass is a family run business, which I also like to support.

img_20180521_111727


Black diamond charcoal teeth whitening

img_20180530_101759

With that same gift card, I bought Blk diamond charcoal teeth whitener to try.  Black diamonds are all the rage guys… 😉

I’ve only tried this once – because you have to brush for 5 minutes with it – but did actually see results; plus my mouth felt extraordinarily clean after. There is also a lot of charcoal powder in the container, so although it is on the pricey side, I think it will last a long time.

Note that it is a bit weird to use because your entire mouth turns black and you look like a monster (not willing to post a pic of that on the internet hah) and, as mentioned, takes some time.

I’m still trying to get Mike to try it with no success…


SETTING A DATE

img_20180527_173225
Mike is actually trying to ruin my selfie here, not hold my hand, but that’s our kind of romance… 😜

We set a date for our wedding and have less than a year to go! What!!! It feels so official now. I already have my dress. Our venue is amazing and I feel like we have a lot taken care of through them. We still need to do is pick a color, a DJ, and a photographer but that’s kind of it (…she types, blissfully unaware of all the little things that still need to be planned).

It’s so crazy that I will be Mike’s wife this time next year. All about it.


Feijoas 

img_20180530_082758

Who has tried these? Feijoas are native to New Zealand and such a devine little fruit. I saw them at Whole Foods and wanted to try them since a YouTuber I follow is always talking about them. They are a bit tart and fleshy. I cut them in half and ate with a spoon for breakfast. So refreshing and the perfect warm-weather fruit.


This food pyramid

img_20180520_135751.jpg

Am I right?!

I snapped this picture of a poster in a Peet’s (say that fast!) when we were coming back from Tahoe. It is basically my diet on weekends and vacations and I’m sticking to it.


Other Friday Faves:
January
February
March
April

2017
Friday Favorites #5
Friday Favorites #4
Friday Favorites #3
Friday Favorites #2
Friday Favorites #1

Romantic getaway [Squaw Valley]

Squaw Valley is mine and Mike’s “spot.” It’s about a 4.5 hour drive from our house and the perfect getaway. We used to make it up there multiple times a year but now it seems we only get up there once. I’m not complaining though! Even one weekend a year to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect as a couple is great; especially in magical Squaw Valley.

We’ve been going up there for so long, we have our own little traditions in place. This past trip incorporated our favorite things to do (of course) but we also explored a lot of new things too. We even got extra fancy this time and took a day off from work to enjoy a nice, long 3 day weekend together.

We arrived late on Thursday night and basically unpacked and went straight to sleep. On Friday we woke up early for our first activity of the weekend; hiking! Side story: we got permits to hike Half Dome this August so we’re trying to do a lot more hiking in the next few months to prepare. With this in mind, I picked the hardest hike Squaw has, Shirley Cannon Trail. As a bonus, we were able to get some altitude training while up there, which isn’t a possibility at home.

image.jpg
Those Bombas socks were key on the trail

The weather predicted rain and thunder storms around 12pm so, after a quick bowl of oatmeal in our room, we started out on the trail at 8:15am. The original plan was to hike up and take the gondola down* but things didn’t work out that way (#foreshadowing). On past Squaw trips, we’ve taken the gondola to the top and spent the day hot tubbing, eating, and drinking champagne. What a different plan it was this time!

IMG_20180518_082643.jpg

IMG_20180518_082054.jpg

IMG_20180518_095412.jpg

The Shirley Cannon Trail hike is no joke. It’s gorgeous but strenuous. You cross multiple streams, see a few waterfalls, and have to actually boulder quite a bit. No lies, the altitude started to get to me once or twice and I had to stop to rest. But overall I was impressed with my fitness and feel less anxious about Half Dome.

Unfortunately there was still a lot of snow at the top of the trail and, given it looked like it was going to rain and we were on slabs of granite, we turned around before making it to the top. WHICH MEANS we had to hike down too. Not the original plan. Plus, to top things off, one of my contacts fell out about halfway down. Not ideal. Nonetheless, we made it back down just after 12pm and promptly treated ourselves to a brewski and lunch.

image.jpg
So high up

IMG_20180518_114315.jpg

We intended to take a quick 40 minute catnap when we got back to the hotel but slept for a hour and 20 minutes instead. I wasn’t mad about it though… I think our bodies needed the rest.

After snoozing, we hit up the hot tub and got caught in a little rain storm. But who cares when you’re already wet? Squaw has the best hot tub scene, with 3 different Jacuzzis and a giant pool. All that and a gorgeous view of the mountains. It’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon…

Before our dinner reservations, we had time for a glass of wine and a little Royal wedding watching. Correction: I watched updates on the wedding. Mike could not care less. Who else is obsessed with MM like I am though? 🙋 She’s so gorgeous and an American/Californian. I had to support. 😉

After my pop culture history-in-the-making fix, Mike treated me to a cozy dinner at Six Peaks. We spilt a bottle of red, an order of lobster mac n’ cheese, and indulged in fillets. It was such a nice night. There is just something about splitting a bottle of wine that is so romantic to me. AND we got to toast the official less-than-a-year countdown to our wedding!

IMG_20180518_202637.jpg

On Saturday we had a big adventure planned. But first, COFFEE (and tea and breakfast sammies). Wild Cherries in Truckee and is my favorite local coffee spot. I am a picky coffee drinker and have never been disappointed with their java. They also have made-to-order sandwiches that are hot and fresh every time. I may need to start a campaign for them to open a location in the Bay Area…

image.jpg

AND THEN it was adventure time. We drove to Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park in Tahoe Vista for 2.5 hours of zip-lining and swinging around in the trees.

The
most
fun.

For $60 you get to explore 9 different obstacle courses up in the treetops. You are harnessed in while you try things like walking across rolling logs or rock climbing on a suspended wall. There are also zip lines sprinkled throughout each course. I was a little nervous at first because you have to jump off to start zip lining and don’t have anything to grab onto but your harness. After a few tries though, you don’t even think about it.

Mike and I completed all 9 courses (and one twice, by accident) so we were pretty proud of ourselves. I highly recommend trying this if you’re in the Tahoe location. The same company has 2 other parks and I’m sure we’ll be back for more.

IMG_20180519_122457.jpg

IMG_20180519_120153.jpg

IMG_20180519_120128.jpg

IMG_20180519_120354.jpg

After our treetop adventure we scarfed down quinoa (for me) and orzo (for Mike) vegetable salads that we had bought at New Moon, a health food store next to Wild Cherries. Then it was a quick drive back to Squaw for some relaxation in the form of a couples massage.

Now that we are engaged, on vacations like this, I think about how in few years we might have a little babe with us; and vacations will likely look a lot different! hah 🙂 But for now, it’s still just me and Mike and we can indulge in things like bottles of wine, hour long adventures, and massages.

We hit up Sandy’s Pub in the resort after for beers and sweet potato fries. I have good memories of Sandy’s including basically sneaking in a bottle of wine to drink with my future mother-in-law a few years ago; to actually sneaking into the hot tub outside the restaurant another time with my friend Sandra and eating at Sandy’s after. Not to mention all of the times Mike and I have been there. ❤

We spilt a pizza and a salad after and then, perhaps proving that we are ready for parenthood, went back to the hotel to chill for the rest of the night. Oddly enough we found an interesting documentary on the Weather Channel (of all channels) and proceeded to learn all about the Donner Party. Not a super romantic topic… ek 😐

On our final morning in Squaw, we continued a tradition we have that involves a mountain view, tea, and hot tubbing. Who doesn’t love hot tubbing right in the morning when their the skinniest they’ll be all day?! Jk.

Then we spilt a chocolate croissant (hot tub before you eat, I’m telling ya;), packed up, and said ✌️ to Squaw; our favorite home away from home.

A sweet life it is.

img_20180518_203129


*Mike was actually going to PROPOSE last year when we had the same plan but we didn’t end up hiking that trip. Instead he proposed a few months later in the sweetest, most perfect way. Spoiler: the day included hot tubbing, apple picking, wine tasting, and of course, a very special question. 🙂

Filoli Gardens [+ iced London fog recipe]

For Mother’s Day this year, I took my mom and grandma to Filoli Gardens. Despite growing up in the Bay Area, I’d never been to Filoli. At $22/person, I thought it was a decent price for an afternoon spent wondering around beautiful flowers and greenery.

IMG_20180512_135656.jpg
My favorite flower; California poppies!

Filoli was built between 1915 and 1917 by the wealthy William Bourn. The name of the estate are the first 2 letters of Bourn’s credo.


FIght for a just cause;
LOve your fellow man;
LIve a good life.


In 1936, Filoli was sold to the Roth family, where they lived until 1975 when Mrs. Roth donated the estate to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. There are 16 acres of gardens to wonder through; plus the house that both families lived in when they resided in Filoli. You can pay an additional $5 for a garden tour and $5 for a house tour but we decided to go self-guided.

We explored the garden first. There are different sections of the garden and they are all gorgeous. When you first enter, you see a little pond area; which, let’s be real, is impressive enough on it’s own (I would be happy with just that tiny section as my entire garden). Then you wonder through some hedges to the pool.

IMG_20180512_135452.jpg

IMG_20180512_135439.jpg

The pool was put in by the Roth family after Mr. Roth had a stroke. He would go into the pool for exercise to help with recovery. But it was also a favorite hangout for the family during the summers.

IMG_20180512_140022.jpg

The Woodland gardens were next. A shady area with twisty curvy trees. The tennis courts were located up some stairs there, where we sat for a bit to enjoy some afternoon desserts.

We strolled through the rose gardens and fruit trees after. How nice must have it been to live on that property? I would love to just stay there for the weekend and enjoy a morning cup of coffee (and an evening glass of wine) walking around the garden.

IMG_20180512_144530.jpg

IMG_20180512_144416.jpg

IMG_20180512_144514.jpg

After seeing all of the garden, we wondered into the house. When we first entered, there were A TON of people crowding the door but as we weaved through the rooms, the crowd dispersed. I wish I read more of the plaques with information about the house and history but there was so much to see, I didn’t get to everything!

IMG_20180512_151447.jpg
A fireplace we could have fit inside
IMG_20180512_152053.jpg
A hidden little bar

IMG_20180512_152015.jpg

My favorite part of the house was the kitchen! I find most old house tours never show you the kitchen and that’s what I’m always the most interested in.

Filoli had 2 fully stocked kitchens (as you do), plus a pastry room (that is legit the size of my actual one kitchen).

IMG_20180512_153147.jpg
The pastry room!
IMG_20180512_152525.jpg
Honey, I’m home! I loved the teal cabinets (and the handsome guy looking out the window;)
IMG_20180512_152922.jpg
The 2nd kitchen
IMG_20180512_152946.jpg
But first… coffee

Or tea! As a little added something in this post, I wanted to share an iced London fog recipe I’m obsessed with. My inspo for this came from Pick Up Limes but I made my beverage iced instead. It’s the perfect afternoon pick me up for a spring afternoon (if you’re lucky, you can sip it strolling through a garden).

I used almond milk instead of regular milk because I simply prefer it but feel free to sub any milk of your choice. You can also add a few drops of vanilla or a splash of agave syrup. Get crazy!

  • All you need to do is bring a cup of milk to a boil and add your earl gray teabag (I actually ended up adding another teabag since I was making mine iced).

IMG_20180514_134523.jpg

  • Sprinkle in some cinnamon and stir.

IMG_20180514_135034.jpg

  • Pour over a tall glass of ice and enjoy!

IMG_20180514_140622.jpg

Friday Favorites – April | picture edition 📷

Who else regularly scrolls through their insta feed to see the pix they’ve posted? 🙋

Just me? Okay. Moving on.

Even if you aren’t lurking your own social media, everyone has their favorite pictures. The ones that capture the perfect moment in time and flood you with memories. I love looking through pictures. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scooped up my baby albums at my grandma’s house, absorbing the pictures of my childhood.

Old vacation pictures are another favorite (and part of the reason I love maintaining this blog so I can look back at all of the places I’ve been). And then there are just the random pictures from any old day that capture the moments between big life happenings.

For Friday Favorites this month, I’ve created a combination of some of my favorite pictures below and a few captions to explain why.

img_0472

^ First up? Bali. This picture is blurry but I love it. It was taken at the end of a fun day at Potato Head Beach Club. I think we both look so happy, content, & in LOVE in this picture, which is why I like it so much. Plus, it brings back memories of lounging by the pool and drinking fresh watermelon water all day with Mike. Bliss.

IMG_20170408_083929

^ I also love this picture I snapped on one of our morning walks in Bali. (I can almost feel the humidity just looking at it… ha.) We walked the path from our villa to down town multiple times a day – stopping at Taco Casa (seen in the pic above) a few times for nachos and sangria – so this picture brings back good memories of our time spent there. I also like the local on his bike in flip flops with a grocery bag of water and snacks; the greenery; and the spray painted fence in the background.

IMG_20170410_193844

^ My last Bali picture is this one of Mike and his niece. (Her shoulder blade doesn’t look like that IRL; just a weird angle…) Mike’s sister lives in Australia so we don’t see them too often but look how happy Ella looks with uncle Mike! Just smooshing his face and living her best life in Bali with the fam.

17844_444997450413_3864225_n

^ Remember when taking a million pictures on Apple’s Photo Booth was the thing to do? This snapshot was taken in a mini photo sesh with two of my closet friends in college. (Let’s take a sec to acknowledge how dark my hair was……..)

Full disclosure: Before this picture was taken, I had just tried my fake ID for the first time at TGIF Friday’s happy hour (and it worked!) so we were a little tipsy. I remember it was a rainy Friday and we were like, let’s party! But… all of our friends were busy so it was just the 3 of us. Despite that sounding lame, it was such a fun night. This picture just reminds me of that time in life; where my friends were the center of my world and one of my biggest concerns was if my fake ID was going to work.

Present day, we have to schedule a hour coffee date 2 months in advance (and there is a 50% chance even that won’t work out) because … #adulting.

30442712_10160213923605414_3327080979733938176_o

^ This is the picture that made me think about some of my other favorite pictures. Earlier this month, Mike and I attending one of my oldest and dearest friends weddings. She was a gorgeous bride in the perfect dress and as she was walking up the aisle – having just gotten married – I snapped this picture of her. It was such a special moment for a few reasons. 1. Look how happy she looks! The picture captures the pure excitement of the newlyweds. 2. Selfishly, I love that she is glancing right at me. I remember locking eyes with her as I was taking the picture and, just like in high school, knowing exactly what was on her mind. I feel like she knew my excitement and love for her in that moment too.

1457635_10153555910390327_1536773217_n

^ This was taken the day before thanksgiving a few years ago when a whole bunch of our friends went out to celebrate Friendsgiving. (Side note: my glasses are totally fake in this picture and I just wore them as a joke… little did I know I would be wearing real eyewear a few years later.) It was one of those perfect nights when everyone made it out. We did sake bombs, had margaritas, went dancing!

This night is extra special in my memory because it was before 3 of my closet friends (2 photographed above – April, where you at?) moved away 😦

Maybe we’ll get lucky one year and have a sequel.

11952968_10155941517940414_3863670434359366848_o

^If you look in the right corner you’ll spot my mom (with the camera) and me and my grandma laughing hysterically. For context, this picture was taken on a girls’ trip to New York City we took a few years ago (read about it here). We had just – or were about to (can’t remember the exact timeline) – demolish a margarita pizza in Time Square before going to the Broadway show we had tickets for. My mom spotted a crowd of people and a camera that was projecting them onto a big screen in the middle of Time Square. Immediately I thought; no, while my mom was like; let’s go!Obviously she won. 😉 At first glance, this isn’t the best picture. There are a ton of other people in it with us, it’s blurry, you can’t even see the whole screen… but I love it. I distinctly remember my mom being so pumped to be on that big screen. She had a huge smile and was bobbing up and down saying “oh yeah, oh yeah.” <– which is why my grandma and I were laughing so hard.

This picture and memory encapsulates my mom; spur of the moment, life of the party, happy. 🙂

556947_10151715992035414_453202885_n

^ Ok I might be on a mama llama/NYC love spree right now but this is another one of my favorites. It was on another trip to New York a few years before when we went with my grandma. We were visiting the Empire State building with a friend of mine who had recently moved from the Bay Area to New York. She snapped this picture of us and I love all of mine and my mom’s similarities in it; our hair color, both of us are wearing hair clips and have sunglasses on our head. PLUS, look at that view of the city. ❤ love.

IMG_20160527_125612

^ I love this picture of one of my best friends, Leslie. I think it’s just the cutest. She looks so happy. (I took this picture while riding a bike behind her, a mere weeks before I had to get stitches from a biking accident — now I never ride without 2 hands on the handlebars AT ALL TIMES ha.) I remember this day was gorgeous. She met me for lunch at Google and after we met a whole bunch of girlfriends at a local beer garden.

IMG_20170701_200743

^ This picture was from 4th of July last year. I can’t say it is my favorite picture of myself 🙈 but I love Mike and our friend April in the background. These two are v similar and I bet they were cracking some joke as I was taking this. I remember this day also being gorgeous. Plus, we were playing impostures and living like the rich & famous in Kardashian Land Calabasas that weekend. Private pool and hot tub all to ourselves on a holiday weekend? Check.

IMG_20180310_233915

^ I love this picture of Mike in our apartment. We were just chatting, sharing a nightcap when I snapped it. Something about how mundane it is makes me like it.

Whiskey. Water. Sweats.

Also, this is probably weird but I like looking in the background of pictures and seeing what people’s houses are like. Are they messy? Are they clean? What nicknacks do they have? So, if anyone else shares this quirk, here’s a good glance of my living room…!

IMG_20170811_144604

^ I think it’s rare that we admit to liking a photo of ourselves. All too often, we’re quick to call out bad pix and silently compliment the good ones. (Or is this just me!?) WELL I want to work on that habit & start lovin’ myself more; which is why I picked this #selfie as a favorite.

Mike and I were on our way to Yosemite when I snapped this in the front seat. You can see our bikes in the backseat, my teal straw from an iced coffee…

Blonde locks, black tee, and probably black leggings; getting ready for a weekend of drinking wine, hiking, and sleeping under the stars. Love it all.

Other Friday Faves:
January
February
March

2017
Friday Favorites #5
Friday Favorites #4
Friday Favorites #3
Friday Favorites #2
Friday Favorites #1

Coconut lentil soup

I have a feeling it won’t be cozy soup weather much longer in California. With this in mind, I took full advantage of some canned food I had in my cabinet and made a coconut lentil soup recently while my grandma, mom, and little brother were at my house. I love having family over and cooking for them!

IMG_20180418_112056.jpg
The lineup

This soup actually turned out better than I thought it would! The coconut milk made it creamy dreamy but, with the added (homemade) veggie broth, it wasn’t too heavy. I ended up using 2 cans of lentils for more volume and less liquid, which worked perfectly.

As always, my inspo for this came from Oh She Glows.

Note: I omitted onions because my grandma’s not a fan. If you’re in the mood, I suggest adding them. Although, since I also used jarred garlic, I have to say it was pretty sweet not having to chop anything for this recipe.

IMG_20180418_115024.jpg
Still sweater weather here!
IMG_20180418_115354.jpg
Love those greens

Coconut lentil soup

Prep time: 10 minutes – Cook time: 25 – 30 minutes – Servings: 6 – 8 *freezes well*

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 2 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

  • Add garlic into a pot and heat up for 1 minute (I didn’t put any extra oil in so this step was fast; plus I was using jarred garlic — if you use fresh, wait until the garlic turns translucent in some OO)
  • Add canned tomatoes, lentils, and coconut milk + veg broth
  • Stir in spices
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 25 minutes, uncovered
  • Take off heat and add spinach, stirring until wilted
  • Serve and enjoy (this would probably also be delicious over a scoop of brown rice)

 

IMG_20180418_120008.jpg
My attempt at staging my soup… ha.

Friday Favorites – March

LOVE GOODLY box

March was a month of subscription boxes for me. I’ve wanted to start using cleaner cosmetics and products for years now but haven’t gotten around to researching better things to use. Plus, it’s pricey to experiment with natural products…

Happy for me when Mike found the Love Goodly box; a bi-monthly subscription that includes all natural and vegan beauty products. What a great way to sample new things at an affordable price! ($29.95/month)

I got my first box this month and it included an eye cream, sunscreen, a face mask, lash serum, and chapstick. So far the Lash Love is my favorite (I use it for my lashes and brows) with the eye cream coming in a close second. I’ve also tried the chapstick and the sunscreen (SPF 17 – how random) and both are great products too. Although, I don’t find myself reaching for either of them everyday. I’ve yet to try to the face mask but stay tuned.

IMG_20180310_150029.jpg

Box of Style

I also subscribed to Rachel Zoe’s Box of Style. I found it featured on the Skimm when they were offering 25% off your first box and thought, why not? After all, the spring box was a tribute to California. 😉

This box included sunglasses, a necklace, a headband that can also be used as a belt or choker, a duster (really why I ordered the box!), a toner, and another chapstick. I’ve basically only used the necklace but have a trip to San Diego this summer and plan to get some good use of the sunglasses while there.

It was exciting getting the box but, without the discount, I wasn’t willing to spend $100 4x a year on it. Partially because I looked up past boxes and, while everything is always cute, I noticed there were a lot of repeat items; mainly sunglasses and jewelry. …For a girl who wears prescription glasses and basically only my engagement ring + my tergaus loop in my ear, it doesn’t make sense for me to have a surplus of either.

IMG_20180325_175541.jpg

IMG_20180325_175612.jpg

Long weekends away

Mike and I took a day off and flew down to LA for St. Patricks Day weekend. One of our closet couple friends moved down there a few years ago and we both miss them so much. It’s always good to see them. It feels like no time has passed when we get together. (Read about our trip to Mexico with them in 2016.)

IMG_20180316_150116.jpg

It was uncharacteristically rainy in Southern California but we entertained ourselves just fine. Our weekend adventures included going to see Black Panther (so good); eating tacos at a hole in the wall spot (my favorite); successfully completing an escape room together (great bonding); and staying cozy inside with a traditional Irish dinner, Gusiness, and hours of pictionary.

Berries and seeds

I’ve been on a berry kick this month; routinely stocking up on raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries for the week and then mixing them all together to enjoy every morning.

I’ve also been loving hemp hearts and pumpkin seeds. I keep little jars of them at work, along with oatmeal, to add to my berries in the morning for a healthy, filling breakfast. (If I’m not too hungry – which is often the case in the mornings – I’ll sub a banana for the oatmeal but keep a sprinkle of hemp hearts for healthy fats and omegas.)

Homemade iced tea

We’re flirting with summer in California and I think I’m falling in love. I can’t wait for days on days of warm weather, sunshine, flip flops, and sunscreen (who else loves the smell of sunscreen?!).

Also synonymous with summer, iced tea. Something I’ve been making plenty of lately. I like to make peppermint or a decaf blackberry one so I can have it after dinner, before bed.

We also recently got this pitcher from Amazon and I love it / feel fancy using it. 💁

Other Friday Faves:
January
February

2017
Friday Favorites #5
Friday Favorites #4
Friday Favorites #3
Friday Favorites #2
Friday Favorites #1