I just binge watched two seasons of Casual, and I can’t believe this lady is only supposed to be five years older than me.
In her defense, I get carded all the time. Also, some dude coaching youth track at the park during lunch last week asked me if I was in high school! Sir, if you’re trying to get me to join your track team, I’m in my thirties. And more importantly, I don’t run.
My dear friend, Christine, is officially engaged! Just a year ago, we were livin’ la vida loca in Cabo, and now she’s got a baby and a fiancé! Time moves so quickly around here. It seems like only yesterday, Christine, Jessie and I were at Blind Lady talking about the crapshoot that was the three of us, and now I’m the last one standing! The only time I’ve ever felt bad about being single is when I got into a car accident this year and had to be rescued by someone else’s husband. I was standing there at the auto shop watching them lift my car up, and my best friend’s husband was there talking to the mechanic for me, and my heart sank. Partly because they told me how much it would cost to fix my alignment, but mostly because I forgot how nice it was to have someone there to help me.
The few single friends that I have are serial daters. Tinder, Bumble, OK Cupid… If there’s an app for it, they’re on it. And although I pretty much pioneered online dating 20 years ago with my first AOL boyfriend (LoL), I would still prefer to meet someone IRL. Even though most of the guys I meet in real life are assholes. My problem is that I like assholes. If Christine and that rock on her finger taught me anything, it’s that you don’t always end up with the kind of guy you’re used to being with. I definitely have a type. If they’re bearded, witty and/or an asshole, all the boxes are checked. Maybe if I go for a nice guy with a babyface who tells mediocre jokes, the outcome will be different. I guess I’ll never know since the guys my friends want to set me up with have girlfriends already! Ha.
Sabrina and I got separated on the way back from seeing her favorite 80s band at the pier. They cut off the line for the metro after she got on, and she turned around just in time to see me mouth, “I have your keysssssss!” from outside the train as it pulled away from the platform. I waited 15 minutes for the next train with these kids who were discussing the ending of Lost (that I had somehow avoided finding out for the past six years in futile hopes that I would start watching the show someday). They got on the train with me, and I missed my stop because I was too preoccupied listening to them ruin the endings of shows I’ve never seen. I got off at the next stop and tried to text Sabrina that I had to wait another 15 minutes for a westbound train, but her phone was in my bag, too! I thought she would for sure push me onto the tracks once I finally arrived at the station half an hour after she did, but she was just happy that I was okay. She even brought me pastries from Uplifters Kitchen today as a thank you for the pizza I brought for us to share at the beach!
Watching Mayer Hawthorne for free while eating a churro??? I could think of worse ways to spend my Thursday night.
I was standing next to the guy from Stepbrothers (the one who’s not Will Ferrell) while waiting to get in. I can count on one hand how many celebrities I’ve spotted since I moved to LA nearly 4 years ago. Most of the ones who live near me in Manhattan Beach are pro-athletes, so I probably just don’t recognize them (like that one time we ate at a communal table with Marshall Faulk). I’m pretty sure the tall drink of water who asked me where I got my torta bread from at Costco last week was an athlete. After directing him to the bread aisle, I asked him where the toilet paper was because I like to embarrass myself in front of hot guys, obvi. I crossed paths with him again while making my food sample rounds and died a little when he smiled at me and my bulk 30-pack of Charmin Ultra Soft Jumbo Rolls.
When your sister, your cousin and Baberaham one of your best friend’s husbands enter a contest for you to win tickets to see your favorite band’s secret show, you know you’re loved… especially when one of them wins and they take you as their guest! Young the Giant was just as good as the first time I dragged everyone to go see them five years ago! They’re coming back to LA in October, but I’m considering missing their show to go on a trip with Shi to NYC instead. I don’t even know who I am anymore.
I saw BØRNS for the third time, and unlike the weather, he did not disappoint! It was my first Green Flash concert overlooking the pacific, and the only green flash I saw on this gloomy day was the overpriced beer all the UCSD kids were drinking. I love this venue, though. You get to explore the aquarium before the show, and on a clear day, you can watch the sunset while your favorite band plays.
I baked my mom a pie, but her love for strawberry rhubarb doesn’t run as deep as mine. Good thing we got her sold-out Adele tickets as a back-up!
The highlight of my weekend was seeing my mom jump up and down and scream like a fangirl when she opened her gift. A very close second would have to be getting carded at the casino. Apparently, I look like I’m under 18 (#stillgotit). I was with my parents and Pammie who was not carded. And highly offended.
There’s this tall drink of water at my work, and every time I run into him, I’m either wearing no makeup or holding a loaf of bread.
I woke up late one Monday, rolled right out of bed and into an elevator with him inside. I’ve never looked uglier than I did that morning, and he’s in there asking me how my weekend was, and all I kept thinking was PLEASE AVERT YOUR EYES. Another time, I was changing the iPads at work when I look over and see him looking at me, so I froze and dropped my screwdriver. Today, I was in the elevator with him on my way to get coffee, and I just had to be holding that freaking loaf of bread that I keep in my desk drawer. Ugh!
Going to a rap show and staying out till 2am on a Tuesday reminded me that I’m no spring chicken anymore. I used to be able to hang on a weeknight, but now I just get hungover! So this weekend, I was happy to do lowkey adult things like apartment hunting, grocery shopping and laundry. I even woke up at an ungodly hour to shop the early bird sales. Now I can’t wait to go to sleep on my new Vera Wang sheets and mattress topper (it’ll change your life, I swear). This old lady’s ready for bed!
Wizarding World of Harry Potter officially opens next week, but Pammie, Shi and I were able to attend a sneak preview. I’ve only seen a few of the movies, but I went partly because two of my favorite Potterheads were in town, and mostly because I was promised butterbeer. Shit was magical. Check it out if you’re in LA with $115 to spare.
It took me 4 hours to drive down to San Diego for Christine’s baby shower, and I arrived with less than an hour left to partake in the taco cart. After stuffing myself with 5 tacos (the 5th one was a mistake!), I was told that the taco guy was staying an extra hour, and I didn’t need to eat all those tacos in record time.
At least the taco vendor didn’t mistake me and my food baby for the pregnant celebrant (sorry, Jessie! LOL).
I spent my holiday vacation back home in San Diego making memories with family and old friends.
Just after Christmas, my cousin and her family were involved in a devastating house fire that took the life of her daughter and everything they owned. It has been a difficult year for my family in general, and this tragedy solidified 2015 as the worst year ever! Hopefully 2016 is kinder to us all. A friend of the family set up a GoFundMe account if you would like to make a donation to help.
My dear friend, Jay, also lost his mom over the holidays, and I met up with him and friends I haven’t seen in forever at her memorial. I love seeing these guys, because no matter how much time has passed, we can all still pick up right where we left off. The highlight of my day was when Pammie and I walked into the chapel and Jay’s brother greeted us with arms wide open and a simple, “Bitches.” Classic Rome. Jay trying to give me dating advice was a very close second. The lowlight of my day had to be when my ex-boyfriend brought his fiancé and his parents to the memorial, and all I brought was my extra holiday weight. LOL. Just kidding. (I brought my sister, too.)
My resolution this year is to be better about staying in touch with family and friends. I have a tendency to close myself off, and I’m trying to work on that. You really never know when you’re going to lose your loved ones…
We were watching TV at my mom’s house over the holiday, and right after they showed this part, my aunt paused it, turned to me with a concerned look on her face, and was all like, “You know you can talk to me, right???” I meannnn.
FOR THE COOKIES:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
FOR THE FROSTING:
1 (8 oz.) bar cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
2 tsp. orange extract
3 cups powdered sugar
FOR THE TOPPING:
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
TO MAKE THE COOKIES:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt until well-blended. Set aside.
Using an an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and the eggs one at a time, beating in between to incorporate. Then reduce the speed to low, and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium, and continue beating until well-combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips and cranberries, and mix until just-combined. (Do not overmix.)
Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour. Then place dough by rounded tablespoon-fulls onto a baking sheet that has been prepared with parchment paper, at least 2.5-inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Remove pan, and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack until cool. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are baked. Wait until cookies reach room temperature before adding frosting and toppings.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING:
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and melted white chocolate until combined. (**Be sure that your cream cheese REALLY is at room temperature before adding the white chocolate. Otherwise the chocolate could seize up.) Add in the orange extract and mix until combined. Then reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Mix until incorporated. Then use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat once more for 1 minute on medium speed until the frosting is smooth. You can add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting.
Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies. Then immediately sprinkle the frosted cookies with the chopped dried cranberries. And use a fork to drizzle on the frosting, swishing it back and forth over the cookies.
For Friendsgiving this year, I made an oxtail ragu that would bring you to your knees. It took me five hours to cook, and I didn’t finish until three in the morning! It was worth it, but I’ll probably never make it again (just like the chocolate babka I made in 2012). I hope you enjoyed my tender meat, because that’s the last time you’re ever gonna eat it! Ha.
“The cure for anything is salt water—sweat, tears or the sea.” (@ McWay Falls)
It’s impossible to capture the beauty that is McWay Falls in a photograph (we came back three times to try!). It would have been perfect during magic hour, but we opted to test our friendship instead at Pfeiffer Beach. More on that below! Ha.
Across from McWay Falls, we stepped into this magical forest where we were happy to have the sun on our face and wood between our legs.
Beer tastes better when you drink it in a river! Just ask this babe (@ Big Sur River Inn)
You can find this Spirit Garden, a breakfast pizza that tastes like heaven, donuts topped with more donuts, and most importantly, the only cell phone signal you’ll get for miles and miles here (@ Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant)
They say that “nepenthe” is a potion used by the ancients to induce forgetfulness of pain or sorrow… I should’ve had more of these! (@ Nepenthe)
“It’s only 2.3 miles,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said (@ Pfeiffer Beach)
We wanted to catch the sunset at the beach, but the parking lot was full. We parked on the main road with 40 minutes till sunset and started our 2.3-mile trek. It was all downhill from there (figuratively and literally). I was wearing boots that were def not made for walking! I tried to run in them, and my hip flexor failed me LOL. I arrived just after the sun disappeared below the horizon. Luckily, Shi’s hip flexors worked perfectly fine, so she made it there in time and was able to snap this photo. After the sun set, we had to hike those 2.3 miles back uphill to the car. It was pitch black. Every tree looked like a bear. We were legit scared. And cold. And my phone was dead. We had brought scarves and beanies and portable battery chargers in preparation, but they were all in the car! We are the worst road trip duo ever, and it’s a miracle we made it back home alive! Ha.
I caught up on seven episodes of How to Get Away with Murder with Pammie over the weekend. I’m dying to know what happens next, but I never watch this show by myself because I get too scared. I can’t wait till I’m home for Thanksgiving to find out who shot Annalise, so someone please come over when the new episode airs this Thursday!
Spoiler Alert: There will be frozen salmon from Costco (it’s the only thing I keep stocked in my fridge because holiday weight) and me with no pants on.
My trip was cut short due to my grandma’s passing, and Anthony had the time of his life those first few days without me. He hit up the Dirty Sixth with Austin locals he made friends with and ended up giving one of them my Friday wristband. They saw all the bands I wanted to see. I’m bummed I missed Tame Impala and Leon Bridges among others, but luckily I didn’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour on Saturday and wait with him in that 4-hour line for Franklin. Day-old brisket reheated in a hotel microwave and eaten in my chonies still tasted better than any BBQ I’ve ever had in California!
I flew in Saturday night and met up with Anthony at an Irish pub downtown. Fado is the official US soccer bar in Austin, and it’s surrounded by gay bars on 4th Street. My uber driver was convinced he was taking me to see my gay friend once I told him where I was headed LOL. I mean, it would explain so much… After US lost to Mexico, we hit up Firehouse (a cool little speakeasy inside a hostel) and Rainey Street. I loved, loved, loved it there. Rainey Street is a block of old houses converted into themed bars. We stayed till last call, and all I remember from that night is a lot of Ludacris and stanky legs. You don’t realize how drunk you are until you’re walking the hotel halls in nothing but your dress slip looking for a beverage machine so you could wash down some tylenol at three in the morning.
We didn’t wake up early enough to stand in line for BBQ before the festival on Sunday, but we stopped by Torchy’s Tacos before we made our trek to Zilker Park. There was a lot of walking. Like. A LOT. Before, during and after the festival. In nearly 100 degree heat. And in sandals that had 0% arch support (but were 100% cute, obvs). This was definitely not Portland where we had a local friend with a car, ample public transportation, and weather that was 50 degrees cooler. The highlight of my day happened just before BØRNS’ set when the sun disappeared behind the only cloud in the sky for half a minute and everyone cheered. BØRNS, Sylvan Esso and Hozier’s sets were very close seconds. So were those two snow cones we each had.
Before I knew it, it was Monday and time to check out. Anthony hit up the gym in the morning while I stayed my ass in bed. We ate lunch at Valentina’s Tex Mex where Anthony had brisket tacos and I had a beast of a beef rib with the most beautiful smoke ring. We strolled down South Congress afterwards and drank micheladas for three hours at a bar inside Hotel San Jose. We got to the airport early to watch the Chargers lose, and I asked the TSA guy if the Starbucks was before or after the security gate. He ruined my mom’s life and told me that there’s no Starbucks at all, because Austin is all about supporting local businesses. I get a Starbucks mug for my mom whenever I travel, and she’s just gonna have to be happy with the mug I got her during my layover in Phoenix!
All things considered, I’m glad I was able to take a break from life and escape for a couple of days. I’ll def be back to explore this weird little town again.