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]

b0a1f752d61211e2a52422000aaa0a0f_7

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]

edf6fb32d86211e2b4e822000a9f130c_7

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]

aeb5c640dc7911e2a2fe22000a1f8ce3_7

ee1d4bb4dc7911e2b60722000a9f09f0_7[he loved it]

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

df7af9b8d1dd11e29efd22000a1f9a07_7

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]

5dac12b0f34711e2900e22000a1f96c7_7

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!

Spring Break 2013.

In hindsight, I should have done a lot less “having fun” and “relaxing” and “spring cleaning” and a lot MORE  “studying” and “prepping for midterms” over my Spring Break…… but alas, I cant turn back time and change that.

The good news is, I had a great, fun, and productive week anyway (regardless of what my midterm grades were).

Here’s a peek into my Spring Break thanks to Instagram:

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coffee. lots and lots of coffee.

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baking. lots of baking.

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I tried out FoodBabe’s Decadent Pound Cake with Chocolate Frosting… which is now a new favorite in our household.

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spent two different days in Laguna Beach with my brother. It truly is a peaceful and fabulous place.

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Laguna Coffee Co = amazing.

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Ziggy loves the beach.. and the City of Laguna Beach is extremely dog friendly.

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I spent a little time day-dreaming of a beautiful home on the beach.

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love brother & sister days of fun.

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checked out the new Stone Company Store in Oceanside… fantastic dog friendly patio!

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and made lots of yummy & healthy breakfasts since I wasnt have to dart out of the house to get to class.

Orange Coast Magazine.

My dear friend, Melissa Valladares, is an amazing photographer. She was asked to take some photos for Orange Coast Magazine for an article they were doing in the April 2013 issue about dog-friendly restaurants in Orange County. Knowing that Aaron and I are always on the hunt for dog-friendly places that have good food and allow you to enjoy a beer or glass of wine on the patio… AND since we have an adorable dog who loves to be the center of attention…she asked if we could come along with her on her photo shoot.

We had a great time trying out some new places to eat, spending some much-needed quality time with Melissa and (her now fiance!) Vinnie; AND, our little Ziggy had his very first magazine debut:

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You can check out this article, the adorable picture of Ziggy, and other articles involving restaurants in Orange County in the the April issue of Orange Coast Magazine:

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Here are a few other photos Melissa snapped that day:

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*Photos are the property of Melissa Valladares Photography
*Magazine Cover is the property of Orange Coast Magazine

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.

labor day weekend.

we had a great Labor Day weekend! I’m sure this comes as no surprise: it was filled with food, fun, family, and beer.

Since it was a holiday weekend I had off of teacher training so there wasnt really anything we “had” to do….. its a rare event when Aaron and I dont have a tight schedule on the weekends; so we tried to really enjoy the freedom of being able to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.

Friday night Aaron worked late so Estela came over and we had a girls night of snacks (pita, hummus, grapes), beer, and a Sex and the City marathon.

Saturday morning Aaron and I got up and ran a few errands and stopped by Whole Foods for some yummy food supplies for the weekend.

 
we used some of those yummy ingredients to make a delicious dinner of:
Maryland Blue crab cakes with a sriracha sauce
sauteed kale
broiled cheesy tomatoes

for dessert we popped open one of my dad’s Java Stout home-brews which was AMAZING.
We sipped on that as we played some gin rummy and enjoyed a nice, relaxing evening. 

Sunday morning we got up early and went on a 5 mile walk with Ziggy. 
The first stop was the 3rd & Fairfax Farmers Market for some much-needed chilaquiles.

After breakfast we walked down 3rd street to the Beverly Center, then on to Robertson, then back to the Beverly Connection, then to The Grove, and then on home.
Ziggy was pretty tired after our long walk and being out in the heat; but he was a trooper and got some great exercise.

That night we made some delicious risotto and kale….. but… I apparently forgot to take any photos of that meal. Trust me when I say it was fantastic.

Monday my parents came into town!!
We got our hands on a special mini keg of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and sipped on that while playing gin rummy all afternoon.

That evening we made homemade pizzas and then devoured some Crumbs mini cupcakes as dessert.

[normally I’m not one to purchase desserts; I’d much rather bake them myself….
but my dad had yet to try a Crumbs cupcake and these mini ones were just too cute to pass up]

It was a great labor day weekend. Unfortunately, Tuesday rolled around and we all had to get back to the real world. Dad had a 5am flight to Atlanta from LAX, Aaron had a 6am call at Universal, and I had to be at school by 7:30am to find parking for Chemistry class. At least we were able to relax while we could. 

the end of Summer.

It’s hard to believe that Summer is over.   

This Summer was not without drama, or stress, or chaos… but it was productive. and it was fun.

My Summer began by completing the 200hr YogaWorks Teacher Training program.
Then, I went straight into my 6 week intensive Physiology Summer school course.
During that 6 week time-frame, I was a study-a-holic, we took a long weekend trip to Chicago for 4th of July and Ashley & Drew’s wedding, when we returned Aaron had a surprise appendectomy and then Aaron’s parents came to visit.
Once Summer school was over, my parents came to visit for a little over a week, and then Aaron and I went to Fresno to spend some much-needed time away from Los Angeles.
In the past few weeks Aaron started working on a new television show, I started my 300hr Professional Program, and my dad came into town on a whirlwind trip to help my brother move.

Next week my Fall semester starts at Santa Monica College and I will be embarking on the second full week of my 300hr Professional Program through YogaWorks.

I will be one busy student in the coming months trying to manage my time wisely between being on campus, at a yoga studio, and studying.

Its also crazy to think that with this transition from Summer to Fall (this is according to my school semester calendar; certainly not according to the weather we have been having that says its still very much Summertime) will come holidays, travel, and a New Year.

[while my parents were in town we walked over to LACMA to see the new “Levitated Mass” installation. Yes, its art… but its also just a great, big rock.]

 [my parents got to partake in “ciabatta baking day”! AND they got to take a loaf home to Alabama with them]

[the beer fairy came to Los Angeles! between my Dad’s home-brew and some mid-west/east coast beers (that we cant get here in CA) our house is stocked with lots and lots of yummy beer!]

[speaking of beer, one of our current favorites is the Tart of Darkness from The Bruery; 
its a dark, fruity sour that even my mom likes!]

[I whipped up my favorite banana+spinach+mango+wheat germ+cinnamon+coconut water 
smoothie on my parents’ last day in LA]

[my dad was able to get ahold of one of these bad-boys while in town!]
I was sad that my parents had to head back home; but happy that they were able to spend a great week and a half with us in Southern California! I really wish they lived closer.

[Ziggy and I went down to Orange County a few times in the past couple of weeks to spend time with my brother]

[and, of course, we ended up at The Bruery Provisions for a tasting flight… or two]
[Aaron and I spent a (much needed) long weekend in Fresno… Ziggy had a nice, relaxing trip up]

[we went out to eat at Pismo’s in Fresno and I had some amazingly delicious garlic linguini with clams]

 [and, of course, Ziggy made himself right at home]

[we enjoyed Champagne with breakfast… because its the perfect addition to a long weekend]

 [and so is cheese with an assortment of fantastic olives]

[there is never a shortage of wine while in Fresno, and Justin Wine is simply the best]

[we had a great long weekend away from LA,
even though the temperatures were a little warm]

[back home, Aaron and I enjoyed happy hour at one of the most dog-friendly patios in LA, 
AND discovered that they offer a free cheese pizza during happy hour!]

[Summer is the perfect time of year to be craving lots and lots of kale and heirloom tomatoes… which I did…. so Ive been making this meal a lot]

[I spent one afternoon organizing our pantry with my newest collection of Weck Jars]

 [while my dad was in town helping my brother move, we were able to make it to The Bruery’s sour tasting one night. It was incredible]

[we also made it to their new tasting room!]
[Aaron, my dad, and my brother went to Stone’s 16th Anniversary party; I wasnt able to go, so I had to check out their anniversary IPA in the bottle……..]

[………..and it was delicious, so I made a trip to our local Whole Foods to chat with our beer buyer friend; and I stocked up on some Summer beers to enjoy this weekend]

[I spent my last week of Summer driving all over Los Angeles trying to get ahold of this currently highly sought after beer…. Stone Enjoy By IPA
Aaron, my dad, and brother were all able to try it at the Stone Anniversary party; so I had to seek out the bottles so that I could try it! I was lucky enough to end up with FIVE bottles! It took me all week to accumulate them, and was quite a tedious task hunting them down; but my brother promises me that this beer is worth it.
Ill finally be able to try it out tomorrow after teacher training.]

[Ziggy says hes ready for Fall because this Summer has been exhausting]
Here’s to Fall, the new school semester, my 300hr teacher training… and everything else in store for us in the coming months!

another day-cation to Orange County….

I really love the fact that my brother lives so close to us. Its nice to have him nearby, and its also nice to be able to go visit him for an afternoon [or whole day] as a getaway from Los Angeles (a city that has been wearing on me more-and-more as of late).

A few weeks ago I took two trips to Orange County in one week! Both of which were full of fun, great food, and great beer.

[look at that pool!]

 [as always, we went to The Bruery for a tasting flight.. 
and we were able to check out their new DOG FRIENDLY! patio]
[and to try their new menu item: grilled cheese!]
 [we were FINALLY able to track down the Rolling Sushi Van; which according 
to Google search and Yelp is the best sushi in Orange County]

[these “rolling balls” were fantastic]

 [we were able to check out the new Whole Foods in Laguna Niguel; which my brother works at]

[they have a bar IN the store where you can order some yummy food and yummy beer;
so we did just that]
[the weather was gorgeous (per usual for Irvine), 
so we tried to spend as much time outside as we could]

[gin rummy!]

 [another view of the beautiful grounds of my brothers apartment complex]

instagram.

I, very recently, discovered the instagram app on my iPhone.
as soon as I got the hang of it I started taking tons of photos… here are a few from the past week or so:

its a really fun, entertaining app!
and Ziggy makes its pretty easy to take cute photos of him being lazy 🙂

happy birthday!

today is our dear Ziggy’s 2nd birthday!
so far, he has celebrated by lounging around, taking several naps, playing with his toys, and chewing on his two new chewsticks.

which…. now that I think about it…. is basically how he spends most days.
the only difference is that today he is sporting an adorable new bandana!