Inside Oside: A Series

Oceanside is a beautiful, interesting place. I moved here less than two months ago and it’s already been quite a ride. Ez got stationed in California, which is GREAT. My work allowed me to switch regions and continue my regular duties, also GREAT. After more than 2 years of marriage, I finally live with my husband and that has been (and continues to be) a learning experience in itself.

When I graduated from college, Ez lived in North Carolina. I didn’t feel like moving there was right for me so we continued our long-distance relationship until he was assigned a new duty station. The stars aligned and we headed for Oceanside. I’m grateful to be close to my family and friends. Also, I found comfort in staying in California. How much different could it possibly be a couple hours south? It’s warm and sunny, there’s an In-N-Out, and we’re only a few minutes from the beach–but damn, it does feel like a military town sometimes! There are no people of color in our neighborhood and things can be quite conservative or unconscious at times.

I haven’t been out and about as much as I’ve wanted, but I have already witnessed some notable things in my short time here. I hope you’ll find as much amusement, life lessons, and/or challenges in these experiences as I do. Without further ado, I bring you “Inside Oside,” featuring some tales from my time in Oceanside and the greater San Diego area.

I’ll start you off with something simple. A few days ago, I was driving up the 15 freeway when I passed the following sign:

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SEXY BEAST WAXING

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!

Let the Birthdays Roll

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In the restroom at Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen

This weekend, I celebrated 24 years of life. With all the wedding madness, it was too much to plan anything big. I take a lot of opportunities to celebrate life daily (or at least weekly) so I didn’t see a need for a party or organized effort. I’m also doing the OC Heart Walk this weekend, which I am really excited about.

I spent the weekend in San Diego because of a work event. Rob came down with me on Friday and we had a bomb dinner at The Lion’s Share. I started drinking on an empty stomach so there was absolutely no time for food pics when dinner came out! After some starter salads, we opted for a few shared plates–beef wagyu satay, antelope sliders, and yellowtail tartare. All amazing! Had a couple of Jameson/ginger beers as well.

After dinner we met up with another friend TJ and his sister, who were also celebrating their birthdays in SD. They had a little pre-party and then got bottle service at Bar West in Pacific Beach. Rob and I didn’t stay too long, but it was nice to see them.

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I worked 9-5 on Saturday (my actual birthday), which wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. Kimi and Alex were super awesome and trekked to SD in the rain to party with lil ol’ me. After some drinks at the hotel bar, we got ready for dinner and headed over to Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen in Hillcrest. Again, BOMB. I had some pork belly and short ribs with celery puree. OMG. We walked across the street to a bar called Harvey Milk’s and had some birthday cake shots with dessert. We met some fun folks there and got our partying fix in for the night. [I swear I’m not getting old.]

After dinner and drinks, I just wanted to chill! So I ordered Lone Survivor in the hotel room for $18 -_- It was worth it! Super intense, graphic, and devastating in so many ways. I would say that we did a lot for my birthday! And I’m happy with how it turned out–had a ton of fun. Kimi and Alex are seriously the best for making that trip.

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I rounded out the humble festivities with my parents and dinner at home. Gotta thank them for these past 24 years. It was a nice change of pace not to do anything big this year. Maybe next year I’ll use my quarter-century celebration as an excuse to get crazy again.

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Yes, we get our birthday every year. But if you’re not constantly celebrating life, then by all means, use it an excuse to have an extravagant birthday party. Bring folks together who you don’t regularly see, but love nonetheless. Do what you want on your birthday! Life is beautiful and to see another year is even better. Thank you to everyone who has shared this 24-year journey with me. I’m looking forward to more adventures and life-long learning.

Made by my cousin, Kelsay!

Made by my cousin, Kelsay!

Workcation: San Diego Edition

Last weekend, I went down to San Diego to work my first Open House. Open Houses are essentially all-day events where prospective students come to learn more about Academy of Art University, speak to Admissions Representatives, and even apply. My hotel was paid for by my work… and Lord know when I’m out of town, I like to make the most of it. A couple weeks ago, I told my mom I would be in San Diego for a day and the conversation went something like this:

Me: I’m going to San Diego for a work event.

Mommy: Oh, I have a friend there. I want to go with you. And eat good food.

So that’s what we did! My work trips turn into my mom’s vacations–she did stay with me for three days in San Francisco while I was training.

We checked into the Westin San Diego around 6pm on Saturday night; Mom re-did her make-up and I prepped my work outfit for the next day. After Yelping for quite sometime on my phone (how does the Westin not have free in-room Wi-Fi?), we finally decided on the popular Phil’s BBQ for dinner. I was NOT down to wait in the infamous line that wraps around the surrounding buildings so we called in our order and took it to go. Mom was so intrigued that customers would wait in such a long line for food so she had to have it.

In front of the restaurant, checking out the line that wrapped around multiple stores

After waiting 10 minutes in the pick-up line and another 10 minutes for our food to be wrapped, we finally made our way back to the hotel and chomped on some delicious meat! It was fun watching mom enjoy her food SO much.

Half a BBQ Chicken with vegetables and Baby Back Ribs with fries and cole slaw

On Sunday, I worked from 9am-5:30pm. Pretty manageable… always on my toes. Great practice for the crazy LA and OC Open Houses that took place this weekend. Mom had lunch and watched a movie with her friend while I worked. As we were about to head back to Chino Hills, we got hungry. Of course.

Extraordinary Desserts was just a couple blocks from the hotel, so we made an expensive pit stop there for some sweet treats and John’s birthday gifts. Yes, I spent $40 on desserts.

Mom posing with some delicious delicacies

Getting away with our goodies

Creme brulee tart, chocolate raspberry cupcake, cocada, blueberry coffee cheesecake, chocolate scone, and marble cheesecake

We left with our goods and set our sights on Lolita’s. Mom needed to try the carne asada fries! She also had some beef tacos, and marveled at the homemade tortilla shells.

Definitely covered some premium SD tourist eateries in our 24 hours there. I’m glad I was able to find (a lot of) downtime during a work weekend and also show my mom a good time! Feels good to be able to do that :) I’m becoming an adult now, huh? Enjoy your time with your parents… they won’t be around forever!