Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

  • White twinkle lights on pine trees in the winter covered in snow
  • White twinkle lights on leafy green tree branches in the summer
  • Jared hugs – he’s seriously the best hugger in the world
  • And while we’re at it, Jared kisses ;)
  • The walk to your car on a Friday afternoon to leave work
  • Family that comes to visit during the holidays
  • When said family visiting for the holidays leaves
  • That moment when your newest favorite song comes on the radio as you’re driving along and you turn it up really loudly because you’re the only one in the car.
  • Annie (the Golden Doodle) snuggles
  • The moment you submit a giant assignment to the electronic dropbox knowing you’ve done your best
  • Alex and Ani charm bracelets, especially when they’re picked out just for you by someone else
  • Cute new coffee mugs
  • A freshly filled water bottle with cold water (water is my favorite thing to drink…weird I know)
  • Planning epic vacations and fun afternoons out
  • Pho with siracha sauce and the other brownish/slightly purple sauce (I have no idea what it is called, but OMG, it’s so yummy)
  • A hug from my mom – I swear I feel like I am 5 years old again (in a good safe way, not a regressed kind of way)
  • Phone calls with friends who live far away
  • Dark chocolate anything
  • Finding a new blog that I can’t get enough of
  • When my favorite blogger posts a new entry 
  • The foam on top of a latte or cappuccino

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 4 (Cont'd): In-N-Out Burger

Between the multitude of pad thai and Mexican food that I was consuming, I made it a point to experience In-N-Out Burger. It did not disappoint.

Option #2 and fries "Animal Style"
In-N-Out Burgers lists only 3 burger options on their menus, but the have a "not-so-secret" menu as well. I opted for choice #2, the cheeseburger and ordered my french fries "animal style." You might be thinking whaaa? Because that's pretty much what my reaction was as well. Animal style takes your basic fries and turns them into fat-kid heaven with melted ooey-gooey cheese, thousand island dressing and diced grilled onions. You can also opt for your burger to be animal style or for a salt free patty or for a grilled cheese sandwich or with extra meat or with out the bun and wrapped in lettuce... the list goes on. Also they don't add salt to their fries; instead it comes in a seperate packet and you can add as much or as little as your heart desires. This thrilled me because 1) I've literally never seen this before at a fast food restaurant and 2) I think fries tend to be way too salty. 'Twas an epic meal and makes me very sad that this chain is solely a west coast institution.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 4 AKA Rich Girls Day: Rodeo Drive & Sprinkles Cupcakes

How have I been home for over a week now?! California feels a bit like wonderful a blur now but I find myself recognizing places on Instagram or in a tabloid, and I get a rush when I recognize it! So it must mean that I really was there and it wasn't all just a dream.

Day 4 we headed to Beverly Hills for lunch and to explore perhaps the chicest shopping street in the United States.

Gratuitous picture of the Rodeo Drive road sign.

So chic I could die.
I forget the name of this street, but had a very European feel to it.
This little park was not technically on Rodeo Drive (was one block over) but it was too cute to not take a picture.

It would seriously be a crime to be in LA and not grab a cupcake (or 2) from Sprinkles Cupcakes.
The outside of the S. Santa Monica Blvd location.

Red Velvet cupcake from Sprinkles.
My friend and I both opted for the red velvet cupcakes (my absolute and traditional favorite cupcake) and I have to be honest, the cake part did not blow me away like I was expecting. In fact I think my own recipe is better, but the cream cheese frosting was spot on! And the frosting is the most important party anyway right? ;)

California Day 3: Venice Beach

On Day 3 we went to Venice beach and I said hello to the Pacific Ocean for my very first time. I tend to remember the first times I've ever encountered massive bodies of water. The very first time I ever saw the Atlantic Ocean I was 8 years old and in a snowsuit on New Year's Day in New England, and the very first glimpse I every caught of the Mediterranean was next to the modern-day library in Alexandria, Egypt.

Venice Beach!
 I'm at the beach! Surrounded by the sounds of the ocean and sunshine and palm trees! You have no idea how far removed from my every day reality this was for me. It was awesome.

Muscle Beach in Venice is the famous open-air gym that Arnold Schwarzenegger and other famous body builders use to frequent. 

Venice has a very touristy boardwalk part to it. And a lot of bums. But hey I guess if I was homeless the beach would be the place to be. 

We ate lunch at the Figtree's Cafe & Grill. If you're ever in Venice Beach, please do yourself a favor and eat here. The food was very fresh and they had a large selection to choose from.
I had the grilled ahi tuna sandwich with an iced coffee.
Chopped tomatoes, red onions, basil and capers marinated in balsamic vinaigrette w/ arugula, horseradish mayonnaise on rosemary focaccia. Cue drooling Homer Simpson style.
After lunch we headed south towards the pier and into the less touristy part of Venice Beach.
Meet "Declaration"
The 60 foot tall steel sculpture on Venice Beach by Mark di Suvero.

Oh just shopping for my future beach house ;)

The pier!
Loving life in this picture.

Last but not least the Venice canals :) How cool would this be if this was your back yard?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Observations from a Starbucks in LA

I've been spending a few hours sitting in a Starbucks as my friend has life things to do, alas I may be on vacation but the world keeps turning. I sit here with my laptop plugged in, very valuable real estate in a Starbucks let me tell you, as I've been blogging and catching up on social media, I can't help but do some people watching.
  • A working child actress meeting with her tutor with mom in tow.
  • A Jewish Gay man who is recently engaged and seeking advice from a friend on how to deal with some family members not fully accepting him.
  • A man on an interview who spent this past summer working in Florida at Club Med.
  • A dog (Golden Doodle or Labradoodle, I'm not sure) shaved to look like a lion.
  • A woman lugging around a gallon sized zip lock bag of prescription medications (I only know this because she dropped them and then gave us all the stink eye as we turned to see what the noise was).
  • Lots and lots of people tapping away on their laptops and a few reading newspapers.
  • Two 20-something women laughing in the corner about a guy they both know.
All of us little orbits in the same Starbucks solar system moving about our days and lives.

California: Highlights of Day 2

Hello readers! I only have 2 and a half more days in sunny Los Angeles, how did this go by so fast?! I've seen a lot but there is so much more I want to do for the rest of the time I am here. Here are some highlights from day 2 of my trip.

Clockwise: Number 4 -Green Apple, Lemon, Kale and Triple Ginger fresh juice; I loveeee the packaging on this bottle; the farmer's market crowded with Sunday-goers.

Sunday brought my first full day in California and lots of beautiful sunshine. After sleeping in until 9:40 AM (which translates to 11:40 AM at in NY...whoa) we headed to Tessa's neighborhood farmer's market for some pupusas. I've never had a pupusa before but it would be an absolute crime to not try the amazing Mexican food available in LA while I'm here, so I was definitely game for it. On our way to the market we stopped by Juice for some needed nutrients.

Nom nom nom.
Behold, the delicious papusa. The best way I can describe it, is that it is a sort of  savory Mexican pancake. I had two bean & queso papusas with fresh salsa, spicy slaw, and a dab of sour cream. So. Yummy. It was definitely filling and I imagine it could wonders for a hangover. 

Later that afternoon we went to the last game of the LA Dodger's regular season. Due to traffic we didn't make it until the 4th inning and then left at the top of the 9th inning (can't you tell we're huge fans of baseball?). I hadn't been to a pro baseball game since high school, so it was a great to experience, if only briefly, the atmosphere and energy that surrounds a pro sports game. 

California: First Impressions by a Jeg Lagged Upstate Girl

My journey from upstate NY to LA started very, very early on Saturday morning (I'm talking 3 AM early) as I journeyed to the ROC airport, and 3 flights later I was in sunny Los Angeles. Having traveled for approximately 9 hours on only 2 hours of sleep from the night before, and throw in the time difference I was tired. I made it to my friend's house in one piece (and with  my luggage hurray!) and took an hour nap.
The sunrise as seen from my first flight of the day.

Once I pulled my jet lagged self together we headed to Griffith Park to get some views of LA, but alas there was an event going on at the Greek Theater and the park was packed. Griffith Park will have to wait for another day.

We then headed over to Hollywood Boulevard. For this east coast girl, the cartoony touristy trap that this famous strip embodies, reminded me a lot of Times Square in NYC but with a more tinsel town flair. It was packed with tourists, hustlers and hawkers from all walks of life.
The famous Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard.
From first impressions, LA embodies the word "Ambition." Everyone is out to make something of themselves and that takes hustling. A word of advice for those not use to this sort of atmosphere, put your sunglasses on and do not engage. Give a "No Thanks" and keep walking. In my opinion it isn't rude to ignore the shouts from people on the street when you have no genuine interest in what they're trying to sell you. In fact, it can save you a lot of time and grief. However, Hollywood Blvd, especially by the Chinese Theater, is full of characters. Literally. I saw a very canny look-alike of Tom Cruise and a rather creepy vacant-eyed Michael Jackson. And most are willing to pose with you for pictures, of course it's always polite to give them a little tip for all of their hard work.
The famous Chinese Theater were you can pose with a variety of people dressed up as different characters.
The Dolby Theater where the Oscars are annually held.

After experiencing all of that craziness, we headed through the Dolby Theater (where the Oscars are annually held) to the Hollywood & Highland Center for my first glimpse of the Hollywood sign (since Griffith Park turned out to be a bit of a fail that night). While there we heard the unmistakable high-pitched screams of overly excited tween girls. My first thoughts we're "Ohhh, there must be someone famous here! I get to see a celebrity on my first night in LA!" Drawn to the growing crowd of screaming girls, we see some very well groomed teenage boys swarmed by the mob begging for pictures and autographs. For the life of us, we could not figure out who the hell these boys were. The best educated guess we could come up with is that they were members of a boy-band. I feel the significance of this sighting was lost on us.
My first glimpse of the Hollywood sign!
After the excitement of seeing celebrities a minimum of 10 years our junior, we were starving. We decided on Thai food and headed to Crispy Pork Gang, which according to Yelp was the top choice for Thai food in LA. We ordered the coconut shrimp, pad thai (tofu for my friend and shrimp for me) and thai ice teas. It was sooooo yummy, and rather inexpensive. The bill for the entire meal was just under $30 for the two of us. There's a big "but" in here though, we both got stomach aches afterwards and it took forever and 2 requests from the waitress for our bill. It felt a tad like being in restaurant purgatory. So I have mixed feelings about this restaurant.

After dinner we went back to my friend's house and I passed out for almost 12 hours. Stay tuned for day 2...