Doing Holidays Differently | President’s Day Weekend 2015

This year, we treated this Hallmark holiday differently. Except when have we ever done it normally? I think this is only the second time Ez and I have ever been together for Valentine’s Day, which some may think calls for an extravagant celebration. But Ez just returned from two weeks in North Carolina and I spent all of Valentine’s Day at a conference with my mentorship program. So there’s that.

We opted for some takeout and spending time at home with my family. Nothing fancy, just some Lucille’s BBQ, a cake from Albertson’s, and the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest. Zach LaVine FTW – #GoBruins.

Saturday, February 14

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Candy on the outside, cake on the inside

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A feast for the family

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I look tired from a long day

Sunday, February 15

The weather was beautiful so we had to go for a hike. Thankfully, there are all kinds of websites with detailed descriptions about the hiking paths/trails in San Diego County. Modern Hiker pointed us to Cabrillo National Monument – Bayside Trail, which was an easy hike with gorgeous views. Parking was free (and a nightmare) due to the holiday weekend, but I’m sure that was the case almost anywhere. The fog started setting in because we came in the late afternoon, but the trip was still worth it.

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Cabrillo National Monument 

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Views from Point Loma

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Fog falling over Bayside Trail

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Monday, February 16

Thankfully, Ez had a long weekend so we grabbed some lunch and explored our city a bit. Ez chose Breakwater Brewing Company because it was a short walk from where we parked. Good thing it boasted 4 stars on Yelp! After a bomb lunch (and some Rasbiscus Mead), we took a stroll on the pier to digest.

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Lunch at Breakwater Brewing Company

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Restaurant decor

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Oceanside Pier

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Charlie the Pelican

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“Are you sure this is Winter?”

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I had an awesome time not getting dressed up for a fancy dinner in a crowded restaurant. Quality time with my family and partner-in-crime made for such a great Valentine’s Day/President’s Day Weekend. (But I still don’t know how to feel about two “holidays” in one weekend.) Local adventures can be just as fulfilling as traveling to far-off destinations. And I’m sure we’ll be frequenting Downtown Oceanside. The weather averages 70 degrees year-round so there is no excuse. Until next time!

LA All Day: Food, Family, Fun

It’s been a while, folks! Is it still appropriate to say “Happy New Year” in February? Well, Happy New Year! So much has happened since December and I fully intend to reflect and recap it… but so much is happening now! Yes, I have moved into a house in Oceanside. But I have too much love for LA to stay away for long. I’ve been back every weekend since I’ve moved. Old habits are hard to break.

But these visits haven’t been without good reason! One of my good friends, Rob, is moving to another country! Rob is a wanderer deep in his soul so I can’t be too upset with him for leaving–plus, that means we’ve had an ongoing excuse to celebrate and go on adventures. Naturally, we navigated the vast offerings of Los Angeles, which I could explore every day for the rest of my life and still not fully experience. In college, I was raised on the the principles of “Food, Family, and Fun.” I’ve stuck with some awesome folks raised on this same mentality, so I know they are always with me when I get hyped for an outing like this.

IMG_8451Like my cheesy self does, I googled “Things to do in Los Angeles on a weekend.” I happened across this list, which I thought was silly at first, but we ended up doing 3 of the activities listed! Oh, they do know what they’re talking about. We started our day at Maze Room, which is a real-life version of those escape room video games. This one was castle-themed and we had an hour to escape. When we were first locked in, I had NO idea what to look for. The room looked barren with a couple props and a triple-locked door. Then we just delighted in what small children can’t help but do… TOUCH EVERYTHING. At first I was afraid that it would be scary, like those theme park Halloween mazes, but thank goodness it wasn’t like that. Our team of 6 escaped in 32 minutes–what a thrill! It’s no wonder these are growing in popularity. This particular venue just opened an FBI-themed room. Too down to go back.

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Cheesin’ after our escape

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Our efforts made us hungry so decided on some bomb Indonesian food at Simpang Asia in Culver City. As far as I know, this food is pretty authentic and many meals come wrapped in banana leaves. It’s so rich in flavor and reminds me of a mix of my favorite Southeast Asian cuisines. Suggestions for legit Indonesian food are welcome! We headed for Artists & Fleas, which originated in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and now has a market every 3rd Saturday of the month in LA. If it’s from New York, it’s obviously cool. I’m all about supporting the local artists and designers and just finding sweet stuff in general. This market definitely had some great finds from jewelry, to home goods, apparel, vintage pieces, and everything in between.

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Kimi and I snagged some bracelets and I also picked up some succulents to decorate the house. The guys bought some health smoothies/juices to pass the time. They were good sports about it. I dragged them along on the promise there would be a beer garden, but there was no alcohol to be found. Seems I don’t read too well :/

IMG_8454Thirsty from the lack of libations, we stopped into the first bar we could find. Okay, the second bar, because the first bar only had beer and was way too cool. The better part of our evening/night was spent at Pour Haus, which was a wine bar that offered an awesome selection of wines, beers… and board games! Check two off the list.

Pour Haus had happy hour. On the weekend. WHAT? (Good) weekend happy hours are hard to come by, let alone at a place that has seats available. I was in love. We ordered up drinks and food and more drinks and more food, not knowing this was only the start to a fun-filled night.

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Complimentary sip of lambrusco to start

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Immediately ordered a bottle (and another) because we loved it

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Greek Nachos – we ordered 3 of these

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Huge selection of board games plus some wine bottles for sale

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Kimi contemplating for Cards Against Humanity

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Real-life version of Heads Up!

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Men’s room accents

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We tried to fit into the Arts District – are we cool yet?

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Passed this cute outdoor cafe

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For a third check off that list, we hit up EightyTwo, which is a bars that boasts a bunch of classic arcade games. They have an entire room dedicated to pinball machines. Yes, it’s awesome. You’ll see the greatest mix of people here from girls dressed up and only there for the drinks, to gamers not dressed up and only there for the games. And then there’s me and my friends, slightly liquored up and trying to keep the night going. We met up with even more people there and got some games in before the Saturday night crowd piled in. As it usually goes, I got hungry and we headed to our last stop of the night.

Belly and Snout has been on my bucket list since it opened. It’s a new Filipino Fusion spot in K-town, with limited, but BOMB offerings on the menu. You order at the front counter and grab a seat in the back–quite the interesting layout. They ran out of longanisa, which means it must be good and I must go back. Everything we ordered was delicious and it was a great end to the night.

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Grilled cheese, hot dogs, and fries/tots

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Sisig fries

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Chicken adobo grilled cheese

I told Rob we’d take him to do some real LA shit and I must say that we were pretty successful. From West LA to the Arts District then to K-Town, it was the kind of day you see in movie montages with friends laughing endlessly and bright sunshine-y background music. It’s days like these I know I’m surrounded by the right people who are always down for food, family, and fun. I hope Rob found it to be a proper send-off and that everyone else enjoyed the day as much as I did. Here is to good vibes, good wishes, and a good 2015, y’all. Rob, we’re going to miss you!

BONUS MATERIAL//Peep below for behind-the-scenes photos of the lifestyle photographer hard at work.

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//Thank you Rob, Kimi, and Kevin for sharing your photos with me <3

100th Post: Big Things Coming!

In true LA form, this blog will be getting a facelift! You’ll see some sweet changes in the coming weeks, as I re-focus my energy and get to WERQ blogging about different things I love.

For you artsy folks in LA, there are a couple events I’m quite stoked about. Recently, I learned about Atlas Obscura, which is a fantastic way to explore the world from your computer screen. They also organize events in major cities across the country. I am finally available to attend one and was fast enough to register for a spot. Be sure to sign up for their email updates so you are the first to know about these unique tours. While this one is sold out, there are other great ones and always more on the way. I’ll be sure to keep you posted about my experience on the upcoming tour: Exploring the Bridges of Downtown LA’s Arts District. Lucky for me, I’ve been meaning to get over to the Arts District–perfect!

If performing arts are more your thing, perhaps you’ll consider Carpe Noctis. When I first got the LA Weekly email announcement, I was confused about what the 4-day festival entails. Although I’m still not clear on what exactly to expect, I know $45 for 4 days of theater performances and unlimited booze = YES. The festival will run every Thursday-Sunday in October with over a hundred 10 to 30-minute performances each weekend. My take: even if I attend a single day, I can easily enjoy $45 worth of drinks and fun.

I hope you’ll take time to dabble in some creativity, whether at these types of events, or otherwise. Have a good weekend all!