life in an instagram.

There are lots of new & exciting changes in the works for Aaron and I which has kept me away from blogging for a bit.

In a nutshell: Aaron and I will be relocating to Chicago at the end of August.

This means that we have been trying to check as much as we can off of our “LA to-do” list while also making sure we visit our favorite spots in LA one last time. I thought a nice way to catch everyone up on our crazy last few months was to post some instagram shots… some of which date back to April!

here is what we have been up to:

ec1d1c62d1ee11e2b07922000a1fbd9b_7[at Kimberly & Guy’s beautiful wedding at The Bel Air Hotel in April]

35217a36d53511e2902222000a1fa52b_7[Zig, my brother and I spent several days lounging around Laguna Beach]

562546fed9fe11e2b57222000a9e07e9_7[my summer has been filled with LOTS of yoga & pilates]

db86e7d2d60f11e28ea222000a9f1946_7[Aaron’s parents came to visit the weekend before Aaron’s 30th birthday, we lived liked kings by staying in The Beverly Hilton Penthouse, eating at The Bazaar, and drinking some fantastic wine]

6e3a0e02d6eb11e2914322000a1f984e_7[even Ziggy approved of the Penthouse]


0bfe9910d63c11e29a8222000a1f8ccf_7[one of my most-favorite things at The Bazaar- the Caviar Cones]

3be894aed86311e2a64f22000a1f968e_7[Aaron’s actual birthday was gorgeous, so we went for a hike north of Malibu and then took in the beautiful Pacific Ocean on our drive back home]


8360ddc0d88e11e282c522000a1fa433_7[Aaron’s birthday dinner at Gjelina. It was incredible.]

63dd59d0dc7911e2938922000ae8007c_7[the weekend after Aaron’s birthday my parents surprised him with a sailing adventure]


ee1d4bb4dc7911e2b60722000a9f09f0_7[he loved it]

ed7fb208dc8011e28e8222000aa82017_7[Justin Wine & Sweet Lady Jane cake for the birthday boy]


c8d68dd2e19411e280ce22000a9e05dd_7[I ended my running hiatus with a fun & blazing-hot 5k in Pasadena]

5e0a066ae65211e2b7e922000aaa0a96_7[Ziggy and I headed to Mobile, AL for a week of R&R]

9bebaaa8ec8611e28a8922000a1faffc_7[….and he took full advantage]

85d64f64ece711e2b96122000aa802d9_7[I returned to LA from AL (without Ziggy) and Aaron and I celebrated our new adventures with a great meal at Sotto and great bottle of wine]

1a216facf0d811e2a52322000a9e02f9_7[then we did it again at Fig & Olive]

468c8d98ed5311e2997822000a1fd57c_7[then the packing & organizing process started]

1d8c5608f23a11e282b622000ae912ed_7[lots of coffee has been consumed]

318fc42ef34711e28d7d22000a1f981a_7[we enjoyed one Monday night on our friend’s rooftop in Angelino Heights with more great wine]


42e9c34af7c611e2a13a22000aaa05ca_7[Aaron’s parents came to visit us in LA one last time before we head out and we were able to go see the Endeavor Shuttle and check another thing off of our “LA to do” list]

76db257adffe11e28b6c22000a1f8db8_7[and now we are putting all things moving related on hold so that we can focus on prepping for our 3 week adventure in France that begins on August 1st]

Au revoir!

a beer release weekend.

Saturday morning our alarms blared at 4:45am.
We quickly got dressed and loaded up the car with our small over-night bags, Ziggy and a bag full of snacks.
We stopped at Starbucks for a much needed triple-grande-soy-latte and headed North.

We arrived in the town of Kernville, CA at 8:20am or so and made our way to Kern River Brewing Company. They were releasing their award-wining Citra Double IPA and were allocating 6 bottles of beer (per person) for the first 70 people in line (they had 35 cases of the beer on available on Friday, 35 more on Saturday, and a last 35 on Sunday morning).
We pulled into the parking lot right at 8:30am to find that we were too late. There were already TONS of people camped outside the KRBC entrance and the KRBC president, Eric, came to tell us the bad news: “all of the beer tickets have been allocated, we reached our 70 person max about an hour ago”.

Bummed, but not devestated, we asked Eric for a breakfast recommendation and we headed to this tiny, small-town diner called The Cracked Egg. We had a leisurely breakfast on their [dog friendly!] patio and drank even more coffee. After breakfast we wandered around “downtown Kernville” for a bit and then decided to drive around and explore the vast area of the Southern Sierra Mountains.

We arrived back at the brewery at 11am and found that the line had grown, but now it was full of people wanting to enjoy a beer and have some lunch when they opened their doors at 11:30am (the bottles had been allocated, but there was still plenty available on draft). We jumped in line and within 40 minutes or so we were out on the patio, beers in hand, mingling with fellow craft beer enthusiasts.




The afternoon was spent drinking Citra by the pint for hours and hours on end. We met some wonderful people, developed new friendships, talked about food, life, and how everyone came to love craft beer. We had a fabulous day.



Around 6pm our new-found friends had to get back on the road (they had a designated driver, dont worry!) and Aaron and I ordered a little something to eat before heading to the River View Lodge (which is dog friendly!) for the night. We fell asleep around 8:30pm or so… early I know. But between the lack of sleep, early wake up, 3 hour drive and many, many pints of beer; there was no way we could stay up any longer.

Sunday morning we woke up [slightly hungover] at 4:45am and finally got ourselves out of bed at 5am.
That’s right, we were headed back to KRBC to try again to get bottles of this beloved beer.
We slowly got up, got ready, and made our way down the street to the brewery. By the time we finally arrived it was a few minutes before 6am. We got our spots in line and found out we were numbers 21 & 22! It was looking pretty good that we would be heading back to LA with 12 bottles of Citra.


Zig and I camped out; securing our spots in line for Citra.


the line around 6:30/7am


our view for the morning.



The next 5.5 hours were spent meeting more fellow beer fanatics, drinking coffee, laughing, complaining of hangovers, and eating breakfast burritos that were made at the market across the street. Yet again, we met some amazing people and formed some new friendships. Around 8am or so Eric (the president of KRBC, that we had talked to the previous morning) came around with a clipboard and started taking names down for the bottles of beer. By that time Aaron and Iย were numbers 23 & 24 (a group in front of us had a couple of friends join them). Right after we got our names on the clipboard (indicating we were essentially guaranteed beer; we just had to wait around until they opened) a few of our new friends started pulling out some beers and we participated in a small celebratory breakfast bottle-share.


Now, if you arent a beer snob fanatic, then this list of beers may not seem that impressive to you.
But let me tell you, having all of these beers in the same location at the same time is a HUGE deal.

These are some of the most sought out beers [IPA’s specifically] in the US.

We had (from left to right):
Citra- Kern River Brewing Company (Kernville, CA) — this one was purchased the morning before by one of our new friends
Hopslam- Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo, MI)
Pliny the Elder- Russian River Brewing (Santa Rosa, CA)
Zombie Dust- Three Floyds Brewing (Munster, IN)
Heady Topper- Alchemist Brewing (Waterbury, VT)

I realize Iย sound like a crazy-person when it comes to this.. but just trust me that if you are a beer snob, beer nerd, craft beer fanatic, etc … then it all makes sense ๐Ÿ™‚

We had a great time enjoying these beers while standing outside in the beautiful weather waiting for 11:30am to roll around.
At 10:30am Eric came back out with his clipboard and started going down the list again, everyone who was on the list and still outside (some people actually left?) then he gave you a ticket stating that you could purchase 6 bottles of Citra.


Aaron and I got our tickets and at 11:30am. We got our 6 bottles each, a growler of their Just Outstanding IPA, loaded up the car, and headed back home.

We made it back home just in time to unload the car and shower before the Super Bowl game started.
But we also took a few moments to unload our goodies and just admire them. 2 days, 6 hours of driving, and lots of time standing in line later we had our beer!


our bounty!

My brother drove up from Irvine to watch the game and share the growler of Just Outstanding with us.

We watched the game (Aaron is a 49’ers fan, so he wasnt too happy with the way the game ended) ate some homemade salsa and guacamole, sipped on the beers that we worked so hard to get, and once the game was over my brother headed back home (with 2 bottles of Citra in hand) and Aaron and I headed to bed.

It was a fabulous, exhausting and fun weekend that was worth every mile driven and every hour in line.
I’m so grateful that Iย have people to share my love of craft beer with!

We will definitely be back to Kern River Brewing Co soon… and we may not even wait until the next Citra release.
Thank you Kernville for being so dog friendly.

holiday recap, part three: New Year’s

Every year since Aaron and I started dating we have spent New Year’s Eve in a different location.
The first year it was San Francisco, the next year it was Chicago, the next year it was New Orleans, last year it was Aguas Calientes, Peru…. and this year it was Santa Barbara.

Part of our Christmas present from Aaron’s parents was for us to all stay in a house in Santa Barbara over New Year’s so we could all get away from our respective homes and do something different together; not only were we totally on board for this idea, but it also satisfied Aaron and my “New Year’s in a new place” tradition so it worked out nicely.

Saturday, December 29th Aaron and I got up, loaded up the car, and were on our way North with Ziggy in tow (one of the main stipulations for the place we stayed was that it was dog friendly).

We arrived in Santa Barbara about an hour or so before Aaron’s parents, brother, and his wife arrived so we went straight to the beach so that Ziggy could run around and I could admire the ocean that I love so much.

Growing up 45 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico (and making so many trips to the beach as a kid that I can hardly count) and having a grandmother that loved water in every form; its no wonder that I grew up to absolutely love the ocean. Ive seen the Gulf of Mexico, Ive seen the Atlantic Ocean, Ive seem numerous lakes and rivers…but nothing can quite live up to the Pacific Ocean and the Central California coastline. Its just so beautiful!

We met up with everyone else about an hour later and enjoyed a fabulous lunch at Pierre Lafond’s Wine Bistro on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara. I had a delicious avocado sandwich and Aaron and I were able to try a new IPA (from San Luis Obispo) and we were both quite impressed.

After lunch we headed to our house to check in. The house was absolutely gorgeous and perfect. It had a good sized kitchen for all of us to cook in, 4 bedrooms (to which we only used 3), 3 bathrooms, a pool, a hot tub, a fenced in front and back yard for the dogs, a grill, and… oh yeah, an ocean view:

The next few days were spent relaxing, cooking fabulous meals, drinking fantastic wine & beer, and checking out as much of Santa Barbara as we could.

[drinking my morning coffee while snuggling with Zig, wearing my new PJ’s and
wrapped up in our new throw-blanket]
[more snuggle time with Zig while looking outside at the beautiful yard]
[we were cooking up a storm and Zig was being a little needy; so we fixed him right up:
hes curled up on our new fuzzy blanket on a bar stool in the kitchen]
[just some of the beer & wine we brought along with us to enjoy]
[we stopped at the Santa Barbara Fish Market one day to grab some crab, clams, and a crab cake for dinner. Look at all of that fabulous fresh fish!]
[cozy’d up by the fire]
[then Aaron’s dad brought me a fantastic glass of wine]
[one of my favorite vintages of my all-time favorite wine]
Before heading back to LA Aaron and I drove by the Santa Barbara City College campus; look a the view from their parking lot:
All in all it was a great vacation and great New Year’s! We didnt quite make it until midnight to officially ring in the new year, but we had fun nonetheless.
I already knew that I liked Santa Barbara; but after spending such a great few days there, I think I fell even more in love with it. Great food, cute downtown area, gorgeous scenery, and one of the most dog-friendly places Ive been to (outside of LA). I highly recommend it for a nice weekend (or more) away. Its a shame UCSB doesnt offer my major or I’d certainly be trying to transfer there next fall.

San Francisco: running, food, and shopping.

A few weeks ago I met my mom in San Francisco for a long weekend of food, shopping, and running a half-marathon. The whole purpose of the trip was the half-marathon but it should come as no surprise that our entire weekend was centered around food.

We arrived Thursday night and met up at SFO before taking the BART into the city. We stayed at the Hilton in Union Square which is a short walk from the Powell BART station.

We checked into the hotel and quickly made our way to our dinner reservations at Hops&Hominy. For a place with hops in the name, their beer selection was pretty disappointing. They did have Autumn Maple from The Bruery (which we ordered) but there were only about 6 beer options to choose from and only 2 were California beers. The food was good, but not anything super special. Id say this place is best for an after work drink and an appetizer, but thats about it.

After dinner we walked back to the hotel, took in the amazing view from our 36th floor room, and quickly called it a night.

The next morning (Friday) we got a little bit of a slow start thanks to my migraine headache. Luckily it went away enough for us to venture out just in time for the NWM Expo to open. We were able to pick up our race packets, experience the expo, and make it to the NikeTown store to shop and find our names on the wall without too much chaos or too many long lines.

We took a cab over to the Ferry Building and walked around a bit. I just love the Ferry Building. We stopped at my favorite stores: Miette, Heath Ceramics (they also have a location in our neighborhood in LA, which is actually where I get all of my Weck jars) and Village Market. We actually didnt get a latte from Blue Bottle (which is surprising) but we had just finished a latte when we arrived.  We had lunch at Market Bar and then made our way back to Union Square. We found the lululemon store just south of Chinatown and helped stimulate the economy a little bit and then we wandered around a little more and made it back to our hotel in time to change and cab it to our dinner reservations at Baker & Banker.

I highly recommend Baker & Banker. Small place, great food, great wine selection, and great service. We left overly full and a little giggly from one too many glasses of delicious wine. We took a cab back to our hotel and were in bed soon after.

Saturday was a gorgeous day.
We woke up to this view:

We walked over to Farm:Table for breakfast; which is a super cute and super small place in the Union Square/Nob Hill area. They only have one table which is designed to be a community table and their menu is small, but the food is delicious and they have a great latte. I really cannot recommend this place enough, but please be advised that this place is small. Most of the locals were coming in for a latte to go.

After breakfast we made our way to the Mission area. We got another cup of coffee at Ritual Coffee Roasters and then went and grabbed some of the most delicious pastries I’ve ever had at Tartine Bakery. With our goodies in tow we walked over to Dolores Park and enjoyed them while enjoying the unbelievably beautiful day.

About the time we were done devouring our pastries at the park, my Aunt came and picked us up. We drove around the city a bit and then found ourselves sitting in another park by the marina starting at the Golden Gate Bridge.

We made our way back to our hotel and met up with my dear friend Sarah and her friend Andrea for a drink at Urban Tavern that was located at the bottom of our hotel. Then we made our way to our dinner reservations at Cafe Tiramisu. The restaurant was nestled down an adorable alley. Dinner was wonderful, the wine was wonderful, and the company was fantastic.

Sunday morning we woke up at 4:30am. We got ready, had our coffee, and made our way to Union Square to meet up with Sarah at the starting line around 6am. The race finally started at 7am and we enjoyed 13.1 miles of beautiful scenery, chilly temperatures, and lots of hills. Mom and I finished the race (so proud of her!) and we were eager to get our Tiffany finishers necklaces and get back to the hotel to shower.

Unfortunately, getting back to Union Square ended up being much more difficult that we had planned (trust me when I say it was a nightmare) But, after a couple of hours of trying and a city bus later, we finally made it back.
We showered, put on our necklaces, and headed to our lunch reservations at the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus. Lunch was great and we enjoyed a much-needed bloody mary, but we were both pretty tired from the days events.

As a gift to us for finishing the race, Dad treated us to a handbag from Louis Vuitton. So, even though we were exhausted, we managed to find the energy to do a little shopping before heading back to the hotel to pack our suitcases, order room service for dinner, and fall fast asleep.

We got up early on Monday morning and took the BART to SFO.
After going through security I saw this sign:

I had heard of SFO having yoga rooms available in their terminals; I’m so glad that I was actually able to see one! Hopefully this trend catches on and they put them in airports all over the country.

While walking to my gate I heard someone say “Tanis, is that you??!!” and I turned around to find one of my good friends from high school who I had not seen in 10 years! Luckily we were early enough to the airport that we were able to sit and catch up for about 45 minutes. It was so great seeing Evan after all of these years; I am so glad he noticed me! Its such a small world.

France, finally!

In exactly one year, Aaron and I will be in Paris!
I have dreamed of going to France for…. 15 years? and have had two different trips planned that have [unfortunately] fallen through (a trip with the French club while I was in high school and a two-semester study abroad program while I was attending Baylor University).
But, like I said, both of those trips fell through due to various reasons.

but now? its official. I am finally going to France! 

We will be spending one week in Paris and have already booked our apartment which is located in the 18th arrondissement:

 [apartment photos courtesy of Haven in Paris]

and will then proceed to Bordeaux and then on to the South of France (Nice, Cannes, St Tropez). 

I am beyond excited… and while the trip is still a year away…. it gives us a chance to really plan things out to make the most of our time there.

Chicago: a wedding & time with our godson.

Wednesday, July 4th, our alarm blared at 5:30am. Aaron and I got up, got ready and made our way to LAX.
I was so excited because we were headed to CHICAGO!
and we all know how much I adore that city…. but this time was even more special because we were going to see one of my best friends get married AND to see our awesome godson!

Aaron was able to upgrade our tickets and soon after we arrived at the gate they began boarding priority passengers.

Coffee in hand we boarded the plane and got settled in. yay for more legroom!

We landed in Chicago around 3pm local time. Grabbed our luggage and took the blue line downtown. It was 104 degrees when we landed…  so we had a sweaty train ride and then an even sweatier walk from the blue line stop to our hotel.

We checked into our hotel, changed to some cooler clothes, and then walked the 30ish minute walk to Giordano’s for some much needed deep-dish pizza (and Giordano’s is my favorite place!)
Deep-dish pizza is not necessarily the best food choice when its over a 100 degrees outside, but it was delicious… and well worth wait.

After dinner we walked around my old neighborhood a bit and I was able to snap a photo of my old building. I really love my old neighborhood…

Then we walked to Fox & Obel (my favorite market) and then along the lakefront, through Millenium Park and Grant Park and then back to our hotel. It was HOT but as the sun began to set a slight breeze rolled in and it started feeling quite pleasant.

[Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park]

People were everywhere waiting for the fireworks to start; we made our way to the Irish Pub at the bottom level of our hotel and found a table outside to enjoy some water, beer, and listen to the fireworks (we couldn’t see them due to trees; which was fine be me). It was a lovely evening and I was just glad to be back in Chicago.

 [our hotel, the Hilton Chicago]

We made our way up to our room, showered, and then climbed into bed. We could see suburb fireworks going off in various directions in the distance right from our hotel bed; which was a nice surprise! We watched them as we fell asleep.

Thursday we woke up, got ready, and headed to Yolk (one of my favorite breakfast places in Chicago!) to meet up with Casey, Melissa, and our adorable godson Dexter (who has gotten so big!)

 [Eggs Florentine at Yolk]

After breakfast we wandered around Michigan Ave going in-and-out of stores to take advantage of their air conditioning. We stopped at Vosges and grabbed some of their delicious chocolate covered toffee and went to the Lego Store for Dexter ๐Ÿ™‚

Then we made our way to Wicker Park for some delicious beer and pizza (yes, pizza again, but a different style!) at this fantastic place we try to visit each trip, Piece Brewery & Pizzeria.

Rain came out of nowhere and it poured while we were eating, luckily the rain stopped just as we were leaving so we were able to walk around a bit in some cooler temperatures before the humidity took over.

We took the train back to our hotel so that we could shower and change, and then we headed back out on the [very steamy at this point!] blue line towards Casey and Melissa’s house.
Our friends Peter and Diana came over and we enjoyed some dinner and beer. Peter never disappoints in the beer department (being a beer distributor and all) and, per usual, we enjoyed a tasting flight of various fantastic (and rare!) beers:

 [Apocalypse Cow by Three Floyds Brewing Co.]
 [Zombie Dust by Three Floyds Brewing Co.]

 [Rabbid Rabbit by Three Floyds Brewing Co.]

[Frangelic Mountain Brown by Founders Brewing Co.]
[Dexter was sleepy from watching us taste so many beers]
We stayed at Casey & Melissa’s until it was way too late (and we were a little too buzzed) so we headed to the train and went back to our hotel to crash.

Friday we got up, and went to breakfast at Yolk, again.
Then we checked out of the hotel and went to pick up our rental car. I have never used a car in Chicago (it seems so weird to me since the CTA and Metra can get you where ever you need to go!) but we were heading out to the suburbs and actually needed one. We picked up a fellow bridesmaid, Marissa, on our way, and then embarked on our more than an hour commute to the suburb of West Chicago & St Charles.

We arrived at the venue RIGHT as rehearsal was starting (thank goodness for good timing) and we quickly did a practice run of the [outdoor!] wedding in 100+ degree heat and relentless sunshine.

Afterwards we headed to our hotel to check in, and shower. We went down to the brides room and helped as everyone did some last minute wedding things… well as steam my dress and Aaron’s suit. I’m so glad the bride’s sister brought her steamer with her!

Everyone headed to a nearby Irish Pub for the very low key and very lovely rehearsal dinner. The majority of us came back to the hotel and enjoyed a beer in the lobby before all heading to bed before the big day.

Saturday we got up and found some much needed coffee. I met the bride and fellow bridesmaids in the hotel board room to get our hair and make up done. Time flew by quickly and before we knew it, it was time to head to the venue.

Once at the venue (a very pretty golf club) we were able to get the bride in her dress and the last minute, tiny details taken care of.
The coordinator came in and let us know it was time to begin and we got outside to our “holding area” to discover that the temperature had dropped to a pleasant 80 something degrees with a cool wind! It was perfect!

The ceremony went on without any problems, the couple exchanged their vows and we took our pictures in the best weather we had experienced in days. The reception was lovely and we danced (and drank!) the night away until it was time to go back to the hotel.

Sunday we got up (later than we would have liked) and slowly got ready, packed up our things, checked out of the hotel and headed to another suburb to the bride’s parents home.

We enjoyed a “Chicago-style” cook out for lunch, said our goodbyes and congratulations’ to the bride and groom and then headed back to the city to drop off our rent car. The rental car location was [thankfully] right by the blue line, so we hopped on that and made one last stop at Casey and Melissa’s to give our godson one more hug before leaving….. and enjoyed a beer on the patio with Casey ๐Ÿ™‚

We hopped back on the blue line, got to O’Hare, made our way through security and onto the plane.
6 hours later we were home. And exhausted.

We made it back to LA with some great mid-west beer and a bottle of wine thanks to the bride & groom ๐Ÿ™‚ they know us too well!

[a great selection of Chicago area beers]

 [a bottle of wine with the Chemistry of fermentation on it;
The bride is contributing to my Chemistry nerd-ness!)
We are already trying to plan our next trip to Chicago. Its such a great city filled with some wonderful people…. and we cant wait to spend more time with them.

springtime in Fresno.

Last weekend we went drove up to Fresno.
The weather was gorgeous the entire weekend! on Sunday we were able to take a drive down the beautiful Blossom Trail and take some great pictures:

Sunday evening we had a great homemade dinner of pizzas, grilled swordfish, grilled garlic ciabatta bread, lemony asparagus, roasted brussel sprouts, and my pear & apple crumble.

We also opened up a fantastic bottle of wine: Winston Hill Rutherford 2007.
Which is actually the same bottle we opened with Aaron’s parents after Aaron and I got engaged.
It. Is. Delicious.

Seattle. our future home.

this past weekend we made a trip to Seattle with our friends Jared and Melody. 
Aaron and I are planning to relocate to Seattle in the fall of 2013 (probably August) so this was a great opportunity for us to visit the city, be sort-of touristy, and to also spend a fun 4-day weekend with our friends.
Lucky for us, the Seattle area was having “Southern California-like” weather during our stay! 
We arrived on Saturday around noon, took the Light Rail to downtown Seattle, and walked the 3 blocks towards our hotel, The Inn At The Market. Which, just as the name implies, is right AT Pike’s Place Market. 
This was taken from the entrance to our hotel as we arrived:

our hotel:

Once we checked in to our hotel we walked the 20-or-so minutes towards the Capitol Hill area for our Savor Seattle food tour. The tour lasted about 2.5 hours and took us all around Capitol Hill. We were able to try some coffee, pizza, Chai tea, spam sandwiches (I had the tofu version), bagels, and frozen custard. It was a great way to introduce ourselves to the neighborhood, and also be able to sample various types of delicious food and drink.
After the tour was over we wandered around Capitol Hill on our own for a bit and then headed back towards our hotel. Along the way we were able to take in this beautiful sunset and view of the Seattle skyline:

We stopped in the REI flagship store, and then headed towards Fonte Cafe & Wine Bar for a glass of wine and a cheese plate. The cheese plate was well done and offered some delicious accoutrements. Their wine was tasty, and that’s saying something since I’m so spoiled to California wine!

After that we went to Lecosho for another glass of wine and dinner.

Dinner was okay, but nothing to write home about. The gnocchi was tasty, but seemed to lack something. The brussel sprouts were shredded and had a unique flavor….. and it wasn’t necessarily unique in a good way.
The dessert was good, but it was chocolate and I had already had two glasses of wine to drink; so at that point it could have been anything sweet and I would have enjoyed it.
Overall, I would say Lecosho is more of a drink and dessert place, not really great for a full meal.

After dinner we headed back to our hotel and we were able to see the Market at night:

The next morning I got up early and headed to the Original Starbucks for my morning latte. While drinking that I wandered around the market a bit while I was waiting for Aaron to wake up. 

Once everyone was awake and ready for the day, we headed to Macrina (a bakery that came highly recommended by our friend Rich) for breakfast.

I’m not sure how everyone else felt about their breakfast, but I loved mine! The breakfast sandwich was made with muenster cheese, an egg, some spicy mustard and a spicy tomato sauce. It was challenging to eat as an actual sandwich, so I opted to eat mine with a fork and knife and enjoyed each and every bite. The 4 of us also shared the “pastry of the day” which was nutella and banana inside of puff pastry. It was good, but my breakfast sandwich was much better.

After breakfast we decided to walk up to the Queen Anne neighborhood and take in the view from Kerry Park. The hill was pretty steep getting to Kerry Park, but once there the view made the effort all worth it. It was such a beautifully clear day! Seattle has a great skyline and I loved seeing Mt Rainier off in the distance.

We stopped at a wine shop and a cute little grocery store on the way back our hotel to get snacks to enjoy on our rooftop. Between the Washington State red wine, the delicious cambozola & goat cheese, the fancy rosemary crackers, and the smoked sea salt & milk chocolate caramels… we were well on our way to having a great time while taking in the view of the Puget Sound as the sun set.

After our own little happy hour we went back out to explore the city. Aaron and Jared went to their new favorite dive bar, the Nite Lite,  to watch the 2nd half of the SuperBowl while Melody and I went shopping at Anthropologie, the Nordstrom flagship store, and lululemon.

We met up with the guys (empty handed, I might add!) and we all went to dinner. We went to Serious Pie, a Tom Douglas restaurant.

The pizza’s were amazing! Specifically the truffle/mushroom one. We also ordered the russet potato & rosemary pizza and something involving sausage that I [obviously] didn’t try.

After dinner we set out to find Bathtub Gin & Co. Which is a old-school speakeasy that is located behind a wooden door that’s hidden down a dark, sketchy alley.

It was easier to find that I thought it would be, and we settled in for a night cap before heading back to the hotel. 

To Aaron and my surprise they had Pappy Van Winkle on their bourbon list! So Aaron ordered one of those so we could try it out. I ordered a Manhattan, Melody ordered something “girly & delicious” and Jared ordered something “girly & pretty”…. which is exactly what he got.

[clockwise, starting from the top: Jared’s “girly & pretty” drink, 
Melody’s “girly & delicious” drink,
my Manhattan with a twist, and Aaron’s Pappy Van Winkle]
The next morning we headed back towards Capitol Hill. 
On the way we stopped at Vivace (another one of Rich’s suggestions, which was actually located right across the street from the REI flagship store) for a fantastic latte.

Then we continued our walk on to Capitol Hill for breakfast at Top Pot Doughnuts. The doughnuts were delicious….. not anything rare or unique, but very well done. and, doughnuts are a weakness of mine so I was in regular glazed, chocolate raised, and maple bar heaven!

After breakfast we ended up capturing this view:

We walked a bit, but ended up taking a cab up to Freemont for lunch and a beer at Brouwer’s Cafe (another one of Rich’s suggestions). I was impressed by Brouwer’s beer list, and even more impressed by their veggie seiten philly cheesesteak sandwich! It was amazingly delicious and I cant wait to go back and have another one.

We were able to wander around Freemont a bit and then hopped back on the bus and headed back towards our hotel. We all retreated to our rooms for a quick nap. Aaron and I headed up to the hotel’s rooftop to enjoy a glass of wine and take in the view of the Sound at night.

We then all headed to dinner to try out yet another Tom Douglas restaurant: The Dahlia Lounge.
Dinner was fantastic. Aaron and I started out with 2 oysters on the half-shell, and my main course was Alaskan Cod with a potato-leek puree and buttered carrots. YUM!

At this point we were starting to become very big Tom Douglas fans. 

For dessert we ordered the coconut cream pie (I don’t even like coconut… and neither does Aaron, Melody or Jared! but this pie came so highly recommended that we ordered it so that we could all try a bite), the caramel creme, and the freshly made donuts. Apparently Melody had called ahead, because they surprised me with candles on the desserts for my birthday ๐Ÿ™‚

After dinner we headed back to the dive bar that Aaron and Jared had fallen in love with, the Nite Lite. It wasnt long after that, that I headed back to the hotel to call it a night.

The next morning we got up, got ready, and headed to the South Lake Union neighborhood for breakfast. Along the way I was able to snap this picture:

[Look at that gorgeous blue sky! 
And people say the weather in Seattle is dreary and rainy….. 
We never saw so much as a drop of rain!]
Breakfast was at yet another Tom Douglas restaurant, Serious Biscuit. This location is Serious Biscuit by morning and Serious Pie (where we ate on Sunday night; but at a different location) by afternoon/night.
Breakfast was fantastic and I am already craving another Serious Biscuit sandwich.

[my Serious Biscuit with cheese, egg, fried green tomato]

We took the light rail back to downtown and then wandered down to Pioneer Square to grab a snack (for Aaron, Jared and Melody) from Salumi; which is Mario Batalli’s dad’s cured meat restaurant. We found it, waited in line, grabbed the snacks, and then headed back to our hotel to enjoy it on the rooftop before we all had to head to the airport.

it was yet another gorgeous day. So we were able to spend our last few minutes in Seattle overlooking the Puget Sound while basking in the warmth and sunshine while sipping on some coffee:

We got back to LA last night and already miss Seattle. We had such a great long weekend with Melody and Jared! They are so much fun to travel with and have similar views on how to spend a great vacation: which is with wine, beer, great food, and great company.

Thanks to Melody’s planning and Yelp’ing, Rich’s fantastic restaurant/coffee suggestions, the rare sunny & warm Seattle weather, and Aaron & Jared’s hilarious obsession with the Nite Lite and their new friend John…. we had a fun filled weekend in what will soon be our new home! 
**these photos are just from my iPhone, Ill post more when Aaron uploads them from his computer. 

our Peruvian adventure.

Thursday, December 22nd-
Our awesome friend Simone picked us up around 4pm to take us to the airport.

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 8:10pm so we wanted to arrive a bit early to ensure we got through security and to the gate without having to stress or worry. As it turns out, LAN airlines is hardly ever (okay, never) on-time… so we got to the airport around 5pm and our 8:10pm flight didnt actually leave until 11pm.
Not the greatest way to begin a 2 week vacation, but dont worry- we found the airport bar and were able to kill a few hours ๐Ÿ™‚

Friday, December 23rd-
We arrived in Lima around 11am, missed a few connection flights due to our initial flight being so late, and finally made our way to Cusco around 1pm local time. Unfortunately our luggage was on the 2pm flight, so we had to wait around the Cusco airport for nearly 2 hours waiting for our bags to arrive. We made some friends on the flight who were also waiting for their luggage (and who were also from Los Angeles!) so we killed some time with them by getting some Peruvian currency (Nuevo Sols, which we would later find out is referred to as just “soles”) and found a small airport cafe so that we could try out the infamous Coca tea (which is delicious, by the way.. and would rapidly become our morning “go-to” drink instead of coffee!).

Our bags finally arrived, and we cabbed it to our hotel: the Inkaterra La Casona in Cusco.

I was surprised at how well I was feeling, and was optimistic that I avoided altitude sickness! With the exception of shortness of breath, I was feeling relatively normal.

We checked into our hotel around 5pm and the staff had Coca tea waiting for us in our room.

We sipped on that, washed our faces, brushed our teeth, and then headed to the intimate dining room for our first Peruvian dinner. We had one of the best meals of our lives that night. Im sure it was partly because we were exhausted, jet lagged, very hungry, and very excited about the experiences awaiting us, but the food really was fantastic. I had creamed spinach soup, vegetable risotto, and cheesecake balls with fruit for dessert. We also shared a bottle of Chilean wine… which, in hindsight, was probably a terrible idea on our first night at 11,000ft above sea level, but it was delicious so we didnt care. They also gave us some bread and butter…. and the butter was divine! Literally the BEST butter Aaron or I had ever had. Something about the flavor and creaminess of it… apparently its a “fancy” butter that is quite expensive and is shipped in from Lima. It would turn out to be one of our favorite things (food wise) of the trip.

After dinner we decided to call it a night and head back to our luxurious and pristine room, have the fireplace lit (with eucalyptus wood!) and attempt to relax but in turn we crashed almost immediately. 

Saturday, December 24th (Christmas Eve)-
I woke up around 2am with a splitting headache. I downed a bottle of water and tried to go back to sleep but ended up in a restless sleep until around 6am. My headache only got worse and was then accompanied with lack of appetite, nausea, and lethargy. Thanks to the free wifi of the hotel I was able to google the symptoms of altitude sickness, and voila! thats what it was.

Apparently it can take up to 10 hours for altitude sickness to kick in, so I was a little premature in thinking I had avoided it when we landed in Cusco the afternoon before. Lots of water, Coca tea, and complaining later… I finally started to feel better around 2pm or so. We wandered around the Christmas market that was set up in the Plaza de Armas near our hotel, saw a few ruins south of town, wandered around as much as we could, visited the Central Market (the one Anthony Bourdain goes to in the Peruvian episode of No Reservations), tried a variety of “tapas like” meals, and finally made our way to our “Pre Trek Briefing” at 7pm that night.

In all honesty, we were a bit worried about who would be accompanying us on our 7 day trek. We had NO idea what or who to expect, so you can imagine our delight when we met our group for the first time and everyone seemed to be friendly, outgoing, personable, and all-around great people! There was a family of 4 from Massachusetts, a couple from Nashville, a couple from Madison, WI, another newlywed couple (who were also on their honeymoon!) from Chicago, and us! a total of 12 people, our guide, the assistant guide, and a group of porters (to carry our large packs) and our chef.

After our briefing, we all stopped at the nearby “trekking” store to get a few last minute things (for us, it was 2 pack covers for our day-packs to protect them from the looming rain) and then we headed back to our respective hotels.

The newlywed couple from Chicago, John and Brigid, were also staying at the Inkaterra La Casona so we actually enjoyed dinner with them! It was Christmas Eve and we had a glass of champagne, another bottle of wine, and another great dinner. We crashed as soon as dinner was over because we were being picked up at 7am the next morning (Christmas!) for our trek.

Sunday, December 25th (Christmas Day)-
We were picked up at 7am, and we embarked on our journey.
Our caravan included: one vehicle with our guide (Pepe), a driver, the family from Massachusetts (Ken, Kate, Sam, and Lauren), the couple from Nashville (Mike and Pamela), the couple from Madison (Brad and Jeanne); and another vehicle with a driver, our assistant guide (Helen), John and Brigid, and Aaron and myself.

We drove for a little over an hour outside of Cusco to our first stop, the town of Limatambo, to see some of our first Inca ruins.

Then we drove up a VERY steep, and VERY narrow, and VERY bumpy “road” to the mountain village of Mollepata. Here we stopped, had some coffee and/or tea (Coca tea for me!) and snacks while visiting their Christmas day market. Then, we continued along the “road” for a while longer before being dropped off at a tiny structure where we enjoyed a quick boxed lunch, and then began our trek in the rain. We only hiked for a couple of hours, but it was a good introduction to high-altitude hiking. The road was slightly muddy, very rocky, was constantly uphill, and was an all-around wake up call that we were no longer at sea level! Its amazing how quickly one can get short of breath at 12,000 feet! We hiked up about 500 feet and finally arrived at our first lodge: The Salkantay Lodge which was located at 12,690ft above sea level.

We were greeted with warm washcloths to wash our hands and face, along with mugs of hot Coca tea!

We all showered, and hung out in the lodges’ “living room” (talking, playing cards, reading; some even went to the lodges jacuzzi) until our briefing for the next day at 6:30pm, after our meeting we had dinner as a group, and soon after we all went to sleep.

Monday, December 26th-
We woke up, had breakfast, got our day-packs ready, and embarked on our first, real, day of trekking.

This day was designed to be an “acclimatizing” day. We were hiking up to Humantay Lake, which is a glacial lake located at an altitude 1,155 ft higher than our lodge. Again, it was a nice reminder that we were no longer at sea level! The hike was surprisingly hard, but not impossible. Just a bit challenging with less oxygen in the air.

We got to the lake, sat down to enjoy the view, and then were fortunate enough to be a part of a spiritual ceremony lead by our guide’s friend, and local Quechua mountain chaman, to honor the Peruvian Mountain Gods (“apus”) and Mother Earth.

After the ceremony we headed back to the lodge to enjoy another leisurely afternoon. We played more cards, talked and got to know each other more, and even had a private demonstration of how to make the infamous Peruvian drink: the pisco sour! (which, is basically the most amazing margarita you have ever had).
We had another meeting to brief us for the next day, had dinner, and then all headed to bed a bit nervous about the following day (we found out at our briefing that the next day would, in fact, be the most challenging).

Tuesday, December 27th- “the big day”-
We awoke early, had breakfast, packed up our large packs so that the porters & mules could take them on to our next lodge, packed our day packs, and embarked on what would be an exhausting, challenging, amazing, and fun day.

We hiked along the Rio Blanco river valley towards the Salkantay mountain pass….

and… after lots and lots of self-motiviation and many, many breaks to catch our breaths, we made it to the Salkantay pass summit at 15,253 feet!

It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, not really because of the physical demand of the trek, but due to the altitude! A strenuous hike, gaining 2,500 vertical feet at such high altitude already was way more challenging that I had expected.
We were all SO glad to take a group picture.

We didnt spend long at the summit because most of us were tired, short of breath, and ready to get to a lower altitude!

We started downhill on what would turn out to be an even more difficult, very steep, very rocky, downhill trail.

A few hours later we finally arrived at our next lodge, The Wayra Lodge (located at 12,812 feet above sea level) exhausted, hungry, cold, but in good spirits because we had made it through “the big day”.

We were greeted, again, with hot Coca tea and warm cloths to wash our face and hands.
We took off our cold, wet hiking boots, left them by the heater, enjoyed a hot lunch together, and then all retreated to our rooms to shower and some of us (me included) even took a nap.

We had a leisurely evening, enjoyed a few beers in celebration of our accomplishment, and had a great dinner before all heading to bed.

Wednesday, December 28th-
We were able to sleep in a bit, then we had breakfast, packed our things, and set out again.
It was another downhill day full of lots of rain, LOTS of mud, rocky trails, all the while wandering through the Peruvian “cloud forest” towards our next lodge. The scenery was amazing as we saw lush rain forest, a variety of plants, waterfalls, and breathtaking mountain views.

We finally arrived at our next lodge, the Colpa Lodge located at 9,414 ft above sea level.

We were greeted with Chicha (a sweet, black corn drink) and some locals who were preparing a traditional Peruvian “barbeque” for us. They dug a hole in the ground, heated stones and rocks in it, and once we arrived they put duck, pork, guinea pig, and a few varieties of potatoes into the hole, covered it with the pre-heated stones and covered that with burlap. While our barbeque was cooking we each took showers.

Our lunch was quite a feast! and I was proud that most of the group (excluding me) actually tried the guinea pig!

In order to relax after lunch, several of us grabbed a beer and sat in the outside jacuzzi which was located in the front of the lodge with unbelievable views of the mountains around us. It was so beautiful to sit there, take in the scenery, and chat with new friends.

We had our meeting with our guide about the plan for the next day, and then sat down to enjoy yet another amazing meal with our group. Our guide surprised Aaron and I AND Brigid and John with 2 bottles of champagne to celebrate our honeymoons; which we shared with everyone in our group. It wasnt long before we all headed to bed.

Thursday, December 29th-
We got up, enjoyed breakfast, got our day packs ready, and then headed out towards our last lodge.

(that’s the Colpa lodge nestled in the forest!)

It was an easy hike, but there was one section that required us to wear hard-hats due to the recent landslides in the area (thus making the terrain near us unstable)….

we walked a total of about 8 miles through banana and avocado orchards, and then we arrived at a vehicle that was waiting for us to take us to the entrance of the Llactapata Inca Trail (about 30 minutes away).

We were dropped off at the entrance of the Llactapata Inca Trail….

and walked uphill for half an hour through coffee plantations, and then arrived at our last lodge, the Lucma Lodge located at 7,003ft above sea level. This lodge was set in the middle of the beautiful rain forest and was right in the middle of a coffee plantation. It was truly beautiful.

It was raining when we showed up, but the rain quickly stopped and we were able to enjoy the warm sun for a bit.

Then we headed across the Inca Trail to a Lucabamba woman’s cottage where we were able to see coffee being picked, shelled, roasted, and then brewed right in front of us! The coffee tasted amazing and we ended up purchasing 3 bags of coffee to bring home. The woman roasted the beans for us that night and dropped off the coffee at our lodge at 6am the next morning.

We came back to the lodge, enjoyed a wonderful dinner, and sat around drinking Peruvian beer and chatting until we were all tired and went to sleep.

These were the stars that night:

Friday, December 30th-
We did our usual routine: get up, get ready, have breakfast, pack up the day packs, and be on our way.

We knew it was going to be a long day, but I wasnt really expecting it to be “hard”… but boy was it! We were heading along the Inca Trail, uphill, for a couple of hours before reaching the summit of the Llactapata pass at 8,970 ft above sea level.

It wasnt a “hard” hike, but our bodies were so tired that the steady incline was starting to wear us out.

We took a short break at the pass, and then headed downhill for about half an hour before we were able to get our first glimpse of Machu Picchu!


We were able to see it from the Southwest, which is a view that few people are able to see, and were also in the midst of the Llactapata ruins from the viewing area.

We had lunch in view of Machu Picchu and then headed back downhill along the trail for a few more hours. We crossed the Aobamba River on a rickety old bridge and wandered towards the train station that would take us to Aguas Calientes (the town of Machu Picchu).

We were a bit early for our train, so we stopped at our guide’s (Pepe) friends establishment and shared a few beers with the group before the train departed.

The train ride itself was short, but beautiful. We arrived in Aguas Calientes, checked into our hotel (The Inkaterra Machu Picchu) showered, and then all met up at the hotel bar.

We were each given a free pisco sour, and then Pepe treated us to another round! At dinner I ordered a Peruvian beer and by the time dinner was over I was definitely feeling the effects of the pisco and beer.

Dinner was delicious as usual, and after dinner Pepe managed to talk me, Aaron, and the couple from Madison (Brad and Jeanne) into going “out” with him in Aguas Calientes. I really wasnt in the mood to “go out”, I was tired, a bit tipsy from my few drinks, and was in yoga pants, a track jacket, and not wearing any make up… but I figured “what the hell, how often are you in Peru with a Peruvian native who wants to show you a good time?” so off we went to downtown Aguas Calientes for another drink.

Saturday, December 31st-
The alarm blared early. We had to be meet up at 6:30am in order to take the bus up the mountain to Machu Picchu. I was sort of regretting going out the night before, but quickly forgot about my tiredness when I realized we would soon be roaming around the Machu Picchu ruins!

We arrived at Machu Picchu, were herded in like cattle (I’m not kidding) and had a quick, breathtaking first glimpse of the ruins.
The first view really does take your breath away. It was truly amazing and the sun was shining bright so it make for the perfect picture.

After a quick backstory, our Machu Picchu guide (not Pepe) gave us a 2 hour guided tour of the ruins. After the guided tour we roamed around a bit, took pictures, and met up with Brad and Jeanne who accompanied us as we walked around.

By this time, it felt like an amusement park. People were literally everywhere! Our group came to the conclusion that instead of offering busses to bring people to the top of the mountain, everyone should have to hike there. There were just TOO many people! It got a bit annoying because the people were your typical “tourists” who were oblivious to the history, sacredness, and respect of the ruins. They would ignore posted rules, cross into restricted areas, bump into you, walk into your photos, and be all-around frustrating.

So it wasnt long before we found a small, quiet place and sat and took in the views. Unfortunately our “quiet” space was quickly infiltrated, so we ended up making the decision to leave. It wasnt that we werent having fun, and we were able to enjoy the ruins earlier that morning before it got too busy, but it was getting pretty frustrating as the herds and buss loads of people kept showing up!  We got our passports stamped (yay for a Machu Picchu stamp!) and headed back down to Aguas Calientes.

We, of course, ended up at the hotel bar again, and met up with the rest of the group for our last group lunch.
After lunch we walked the rest of the group to the train station, they were all headed back to Cusco.

Aaron and I had elected to stay in Aguas Calientes for 2 more nights, just the two of us. Once the rest of the group left we wandered around the market, and then ended up back at the hotel in the jacuzzi. It was New Years Eve and dinner was included with our room, so we showered and headed to the main dining room to enjoy our dinner and champagne while listening to a local Peruvian band play. It was a great dinner but neither of us had the energy to stay up until midnight.

We headed back to our room, read for a bit, and then both crashed early.

Sunday, January 1st-
Our alarm blared early again. We were headed back up to Machu Picchu and, from the previous day’s experience, we wanted to get there early. We arrived and quickly headed over to the Huayna Picchu entrance so that we could begin our Huayna Picchu hike. It ended up taking about 4 hours for us to reach the top and then over to the Grand Caverns.

It was also raining pretty hard that day so our views of Machu Picchu were not nearly as good as the day before. We were both so exhausted from our whole trip, so it wasnt long after we completed the Huayna Picchu hike that we headed back down to Aguas Calientes.

We showered and then headed to downtown Aguas Calientes to have lunch at Indio Feliz. After lunch we came back to our hotel room, took a nap, and read for a few hours before heading back to downtown Aguas Calientes for dinner at Tree House.

Both meals were fantastic, but we were so tired from our trip that we couldnt wait to get back to the hotel room and sleep!

Monday, January 2nd-
We were able to sleep in a bit, then we went to breakfast,  packed up our things and checked them with the front desk of the hotel. They were nice enough to offer to carry our bags to the train station for our 1:40pm train, so we had a few hours of free time before our train departed.

We went to the hot springs to check those out, then walked around the market again, wandered around the downtown area and took lots of pictures. We were able to sit and enjoy some Peruvian pizza with a view of the river and then we headed to the train station.

We took the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, then took a car from Ollantaytambo to our hotel in Cusco.

We checked into our hotel to discover that Brigid and John had left a bottle of wine for us with the front desk! We got settled into our room and were each then treated to a half-hour massage, and then we headed over to Chi Cha, the restaurant of a renowned Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio, for dinner. It was a fantastic meal but again, we were so tired we were ready to get back to the hotel to sleep… and after being around 7,000ft in Aguas Calientes for a couple of days, the 11,000ft altitude of Cusco was starting to get to me again.

Tuesday, January 3rd-
Our alarm was set to go off around 5:45am, but I was up with an altitude sickness headache around 5am. I went ahead and got up, packed up my things, and then Aaron and I went to the dining room for a delicious breakfast before we headed to the airport.

We got to the airport around 7:45am to begin our 20 hour commute back home.
We went from Cusco to Lima, Lima to Miami, and then Miami to Los Angeles. We got back to our apartment around 1am completely exhausted!

It was a FANTASTIC, WONDERFUL, AMAZING, PERFECT honeymoon. I couldnt have asked for a better trip!
The destination was perfect, our fellow trekkers were such great people, our guide was amazing, our hotels and lodges were perfect, the food was wonderful, and weather (although mostly rainy) was great.

We seriously couldnt not have asked for a better honeymoon or experience and I cannot say enough great things about Mountain Lodges of Peru who really went out of their way to make the entire trip flawless.

Not only did we have an amazing honeymoon but we met some life-long friends and had an experience of a lifetime!

a weekend of beer and gifts.

Saturday morning we picked my dad up from LAX at 10am.
We drove straight to The Village Idiot for an early lunch and shared a Pliny the Elder and I enjoyed a delicious jalapeno & avocado grilled cheese.

We came back to our apartment, grabbed Ziggy, and then headed to Orange County to my brothers place.
We had our own little beer tasting of a few of Dogfish Head’s rare beers that we had been saving and then headed over to The Bruery for a beer tasting flight.
We had such a great time at The Bruery! and wow, do they have some amazing beers.

Sunday we woke up and took my dad….. and Ziggy…. to the airport.
It was so hard saying goodbye to Ziggy. It was even harder knowing I wouldnt get to see him until the 2nd week of January!
I miss that little guy so much. I got a little teary-eyed as we drove off ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I came home, quickly changed, and decided a yoga class would be good for me.
When I got out of class I got a little sad because I knew Ziggy wouldnt be waiting at the door when I got home.
BUT…I smiled when I saw this picture on my phone after class:

apparently he was getting the royal treatment in 1st class ๐Ÿ™‚
He was able to ride on my dads lap the entire flight!

I showered and we went to lunch with my brother at Stout in Hollywood. They have this homemade pretzel with 3 dipping sauces that is freaking fantastic… so I enjoyed that while sipping on Aaron’s beer (they had Racer X on tap!)

We came home from lunch and had our own little Christmas celebration.
My brother got a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat.
He gave us a Kitchen Aid professional series mixer! I am SO excited about it!

we also opened a few gifts from my parents. lululemon stuff for me!! and Aaron got a whiskey aging kit!
We also opened a few gifts from Aaron’s parents. A vacuum sealer (yay!! so excited!) and a few items for our trip, including a LUG travel pillow and blanket set for the flight! I cant wait to put that to good use on our over-night flight to Lima.

All in all, it was a great weekend!
I cant believe we leave for our trip on TOMORROW!