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!

Roll Out

//coming to you from a layover in ATL

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I just flew out of EWN (New Bern, North Carolina) for possibly the last time ever. There is nothing for me there… no job worth my while, not much to do, rarely anyone who shares my ideologies or values my experiences. Save for the fact that my husband has lived there for almost three and a half years. I’ve flown there countless times to spend a handful of days with him, often bored out of my mind while he was at work.

But we did the damn thing! Been together almost six years and married for over two, we have never even lived in the same city. Call us “crazy,” but we are in love. We’ve long awaited the time for us to actually live with each other and build a life together under the same roof. Well… it’s finally here! Ez has been assigned to Camp Pendleton and will be making his way back to sunny SoCal come next weekend. For the third time, we will be driving cross-country together.

This is not to say everything will be fine and dandy once he gets here. We’ve got to find somewhere to live, fulfill holiday obligations, figure out finances, and so much more. Who knows, I might want to strangle him once we actually live together. Despite the uncertainties, I know that these are exciting times. I could not be more excited to grow together and challenge each other in this next chapter.

Onto the next one!

Old, new, yet to be met

Life goes fast. Too fast for me to dabble in all that dazzles me. I try, though! I give an honest effort to some hobbies and drop other pastimes before I’ve really given them a chance. Then there are those things we must all pay mind to, whether we like it or not. Efficiency, public speaking skills, non-bitchy resting face… you know, the types of traits that bode well in a job interview.

I have never been good at connecting with strangers. “Networking” in some situations, “befriending” in others. It’s not that I’m cold or don’t like unfamiliar folks. If someone chats me up in a long line or a café, I’m totally with it. But I don’t dive deeper than common courtesies and stock questions. It’s odd that I focus so much energy on storytelling and authenticity, yet don’t take advantage of numerous opportunities to link up with new people. Especially with how much I spend time exploring Los Angeles and traveling. I am missing out on stories from all over the world!

But every situation feels the same. Where are you from? What do you do? What brings you here? Then there is some chitchat about the weather and the clarification about what exactly your job entails and the uncomfortable reach to find common interests. While most strangers you meet will make a one-time cameo, every single person has the potential to change your life. I need to stop feeling like every unknown person is an uncredited extra in my lifelong movie.

For as many personal and professional development articles I read, I can never translate the urgency of meeting new people into action. Then I complain about a lack of adventure buddies or having no one to call in a crisis. But it starts with a chance encounter! Maybe now that I’ve started keeping track of the valuable life advice, I can put it all into practice. Seems I’ve got a challenge for the New Year. After all, it’s not just the sights and sounds that make this life worth living. It’s the people whose lives we touch and whose lives touch us.

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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!

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Baes in the Bay | Ladies Do Brunch

It’s been a while, friends! I’ve got some thangs in the works, but life hasn’t stopped and I haven’t stopped living it. Got a passion project coming soon and I think you’ll enjoy it :)

As life goes, impromptu trips are necessary. This past weekend, I hopped on a bus to the Bay to see a friend who was visiting from NYC. Yes, this seems a little extreme for a brief reunion, seeing as I’ll be in New York in 2 weeks. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this post-grad life, it’s that you should do anything and everything to maintain relationships that are important to you. Spending three days with fabulous, inspiring folks was beautiful, necessary, and refreshing. We caught up with each other and rolled with the punches, making plans on the fly.

Saturday morning cravings called for brunch. My tourist instincts sought out the best brunch in every single SF neighborhood and one of the girls chose the spot in Cole Valley: Zazie. We knew it was meant to be when a parking spot opened as we pulled up to the packed restaurant. A 45-minute wait with no reservation at noon on Saturday was reasonable enough.

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Zazie was this chic little french bistro with some outdoor seating, a handful of indoor seats, and a sweet garden patio in the back. The five of us were seated in the middle of the restaurant’s hustle and bustle.

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The place was lined with French production posters and artwork. High ceilings made for a comfortable, sunlit setting to meet up with friends.

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Ain’t no shame is Brunch Spirits! I had the Le Metro, which is Zazie’s signature champagne refresher finished off with real lavender. Great way to start off a weekend.

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A cup of delicious butternut squash soup helped me get acclimated to the SF chill–it was nice to get out of the SoCal heat for a while! The creative paper garnish was much appreciated.

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I did one St. Trop poached egg (wild smoked salmon, capers, and red onions), which was the perfect portion after starting with a drink and some soup. Everything was super nomz, but I’m no food critic–as evidenced by my choice of adjectives. Their choice of flatware rounded out the cozy, welcoming vibe.

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Catching up with these fierce womyn over brunch was amazing–and in the perfect setting! [Not to mention this place was built up by some powerful ladies as well!] We definitely felt grown discussing child-rearing techniques, cooking hacks, and career trajectories over brunch. Post-grad, who? Zazie serves brunch everyday (I know, right) from 8am-2pm. Definitely worth the stop, whether you’re a local or just visiting.

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Love these ladies!

Visiting happycakes :) | A Cupcake Wars Winner

You have probably never heard of Morehead City, North Carolina. I have only heard of Morehead City because my husband just so happens to live there. As a diehard LA resident, I was bored out of my mind visiting for two weeks… but they do have one claim to fame! happycakes :) [Okay, there are beautiful beaches. But like a true LA-native, I don’t actually like the beach.]

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happycakes :) is a young establishment, having won Season 9 of Cupcakes Wars in just their first year of existence. Needless to say, we had to stop in for a taste. You know I am not above overpriced desserts–or most novelty foods, for that matter. Ez and I got an espresso cinnamon sugar cupcake (Cupcake Wars winning flavor), a banana creme cupcake, and a huge chocolate chip cookie. 

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L: Espresso and cinnamon sugar | R: Banana creme

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Excited to dig in

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Everything was delicious! Moist cake and flavorful frosting that isn’t overbearingly sweet. We had to buy a box and share the love with Ez’s friends who hosted us for dinner. Two of these bad boys even journeyed across America so my roommate could try them. I brought them home in an attempt to alleviate our sadness from Crumbs closing

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Cute condiment station

This definitely lifted my spirits after hours cooped up in Ez’s apartment. It was nice to discover this gem tucked away in good ol’ Morehead City. Will have to go back sometime!

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