Monday, March 23, 2015


I can't say that this weekend was all that exciting, but I'm trying to keep this blogging thing up...and it's something to write about ;) I don't know how interesting my week to week life is, but I'll come up with something one of these days. 

ANYWAY. I'm old now. I don't do things on Fridays. I went to the grocery store for the second Friday in a row. :P I relish just lounging around at home. I made this delicious recipe for dinner. I try to have meat once or twice a week. As much as I'd love to be a full fledged vegetarian...I am just somebody (some body?) that needs meat. That said, I do my best to buy meat ONLY at Whole Foods, where there are stricter processes in place for animal welfare and people welfare. The recipe is super good and easy and I'd recommend it for sure.

Preston did laundry and I got caught up on some of my favorite Irish themed movies in honor of this week's St. Patrick's Day.

This movie is so cheesy, but I just love it. I love Amy Adams and ANYTHING that takes place in Ireland. My mom and I traveled there for her 50th birthday a few years back and it just makes me happy. :D 

I LOVE this movie. LOVE it. I could watch it on repeat over and over. It's so sad and it's so good. I even have the soundtrack. hehe. 

We are a blast. 

Saturday morning consisted of my favorite weekend morning routine: tea, blogs, and the couch. :D I usually try to follow up all this lounging with some yoga. I do at least 15mins of yoga a day...most often 7 days a week. Here and there I'll miss a day, but I'm really trying my best to get in shape and yoga just feels GOOD. I follow this girl, "YogaGirl" on Instagram and her motto is: 'yoga every damn day'. I'm in!

My friend Meredith invited me to a brunch at her place, so I hastily threw together my grocery purchases of croissants with ham and cheese. It was the easiest 'savory' (as instructed) brunch item I could come up with in my mind. I've had a super rough week at work and just couldn't REALLY cook.

As usual...I was rushing around and ended up late. I popped a button off my dress and had to quickly sew it back on and then I shattered a glass alllll over my kitchen floor. Greeeatt. I left my place at the time I was meant to be at the brunch.

I am ALWAYS 15 mins late to social events. This is something I really need to work on. I hate to send out the message that I don't respect other people's time. Luckily, this is a bad trait that MANY people share and I was still one of the first to arrive. :P

The brunch was quite lovely and had all the cute touches that always come with anything that involves Meredith's friend Maria :D I met some nice ladies and enjoyed some AWESOME food. I was stuffed when it was all said and done. We had champagne (I had some of this. Who can say no to champagne?) and mimosas and bloody mary's (none for me!), bourbon almond french toast, bagels, creams cheese, and lox, hashbrown, sausage and cheese casserole, bacon, eggs, tuna poke, cheese, crackers, donuts, and my ham and cheese croissants. YUM.

She cooks!! 

Beautiful day on the Marina

I hurried home to meet my friend Zoia, who was coming up for a bike ride. To my luck, Zoia was super late and I got to sit in the sun and revive after the champagne sleepiness. I guess sometimes people appreciate when you're late ;)

Preston very kindly got our bikes cleaned up and ready to go. Zoia and I took off on our bike riding adventure. I can't believe I've yet to do this in my new place!! 

We headed north and east in search of a crazy house she knew about near the home of a friend. It really was a crazy house. I guess it was like an art installation, but kind of looked like someone was trying to keep a prisoner IN. Eek. 

Upon further research at home, I learned that this is the residence of Frank Gehry, a famous architect who designed the Disney Concert Hall. Ah ha. Very glad to know someone isn't being kept in there against their will ;)

See? This guy likes weirdness :D I used to live near this building in Downtown LA

From there, we headed out towards the beach, down on the pier, and onto the beach path. We traveled through Santa Monica and Venice down to Marina Del Rey. 

It was very crowded along the beach and we stopped for a while to enjoy a fun drum circle.

On the way back, we pedaled through the alleyways. I always think this is such a fun thing to do. You get a whole different perspective on a neighborhood.

All in all, we went about 15 miles. Excellent. We rewarded ourselves at home with a snack. 

Zoia headed on her way and I settled in with a movie, since Preston was out. I watched "The Impossible". Oh my gosh. That movie is insane. I am fascinated and terrified by tsunamis. It gave such an interesting account of this family's true story in the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. It is just horrific. I don't even know what you COULD do in order to survive something like this. It comes down totally to chance, or faith, or whatever it is that you believe. But it seems quite random that you would survive or not. This family lived through a miracle situation. It is really an incredible story.

I mean, seriously.
Sunday was the perfect lazy day of blogs, yoga, tea, and the beach. I made seitan strip philly cheese'steaks' for dinner, which weren't half bad. They were close enough to real cheesesteak. We also got caught up on 'The Walking Dead'. Gosh is that show boring lately or what? We are still pretty far behind and they just got to Alexandria, but yawn. As Preston said, "I'm just glad they aren't wandering around on some road episode after episode." hehe. I'm glad Rick finally cleaned it up. Good Lord.

Just NO.
Haha. Does anyone else feel stressed out about the number of television programs they need to catch up on? Is something wrong with me? Isn't TV supposed to be a leisure activity? :P
Happy Monday! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Hello everyone (Julie;))! How was the weekend?

I’m going to include Thursday in my weekend round up, because it was more exciting than the average Thursday and well, it’s my blog, so I DO WHAT I WANT. :P

Anyway, on Thursday—Preston’s longtime friend Bongard was in town. Bongard is his last name, obvi. :P We had a cocktail in our lovely side yard and headed down towards Ocean Blvd for tacos.

On the way, we were detained for a bit on the curb and not allowed to cross the street. Why you ask? Well, because Obama was in town! I heard in the morning that the President was visiting LA and would be around Santa Monica in the evening. The newscasters had warned of street closures.

It seemed to me that no one had any idea when he may actually be coming through, so after waiting a bit…we were allowed to go.

We got tacos at Blue Plate Taco on Ocean in Santa Monica. Blue Plate is sort of a Santa Monica Institution. There are a few variations on menus from this restaurant group serving three restaurants. I think the taco place is my favorite, but none of it is FABULOUS. I think more than anything, people rave about these places because they are all well located with great ocean views. The restaurants have a good ambiance and a bit of a hoity toity reputation. Residents of Santa Monica love ostentatious and anything that keeps them up with the ‘jones’, so to say.  However, my opinion is not the popular one---people love these places and their food. I do not understand.

ANYWAY. We got some average tasting tacos in a nice setting. I’m glad to get to know Ryan (real name) more. I think I’ve mentioned before that Preston has such a great and genuine group of friends that has survived since childhood. It’s pretty cool.

From there, we strolled down to Chez Jay for a drink. All of Ocean Blvd was closed at this point and there was a buzz in the air since Obama was due to pass through AT ANY MOMENT! We joined the small crowd outside of Chez Jay.

Eventually, Obama did go by…I think? Haha. There were about 30 cars in a long parade. Apparently he was in one of two limos that passed. He got a little cheer from the crowd. Two limos are used with one as a decoy, so that attacking homeless people (just kidding, but this is probably the greatest reality in Santa Monica) won’t know in which the president rides.

Even though I grew up in DC…I think this might have been the closest I’ve ever been to a president. Exciting.

We met a very friendly guy from Atlanta-now living in Seattle. He chatted us up for quite a while and said (much to Preston's delight) that I looked like Sloane Peterson (Ferris Bueller's girlfriend)! HA! I don't think so, but I'll take it ;) 

Maybe it was the earrings? :P
Ferris! Get off of the float!

I left the guys at the bar and headed home to bed since I had to be up early for work.

Friday night was uneventful. I was tired from work and Preston was tired from staying up late with his friend. Since Preston fell asleep early, I caught up on the Starz Miniseries, “The White Queen”.

This series is based off of three Philippa Greggory books and I’m obsessed. For one, I just LOVE History and am fascinated by historical fiction. And two, I’m crazy for the Plantagenets…the royal family that ruled England for over 300 years (I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this). They were an interesting bunch and their story is better than any fiction. Philippa Greggory takes this story and fills in (somewhat (ok, VERY) romantically) the unknown details of private conversations, etc. She also wrote about the House of Tudor (of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I fame), which is an equally interesting tale.

 “The White Queen” tells the story of Edward IV and his Queen Elizabeth Woodville. Edward IV was one of only two English Monarchs that married for love and it was quite controversial. The story tells of their love affair, the ensuing troubles it caused, Edward IV’s struggle to keep the crown in the War of the Roses, the time of peace in England that followed, the death of Edward IV, the murder of his young sons, the rise and fall of Richard III (brother of Edward IV), and the eventual crowning of Henry Tudor, who would be Henry VII -marking the end of the Plantagenet Dynasty. So, yeah...#nerdalert. That was my Friday night and I LOVED it. :P

On Saturday, I was supposed to go south to see my Bali friend Leilani, but an overwhelming headache and need to make a pie consumed me and I didn't make it. I spent the afternoon madly cleaning and baking, since cleaning is something I do when I'm already consumed with stress to stress myself out more :P I don't know why I do this...but I do and then I feel better. #alsoIamcrazy.

Saturday evening, pie in hand (I made a Vegan Shepherd's Pie with sweet potatoes and lentils), I headed to Gavin and Gianna's for a Pi Day Party! It was epic pi day with 3.1415 in the date. Preston was, unfortunately, attending another party, so we divided and conquered our time.

Gianna and Gavin always throw great parties, so it's not even necessary to say it was a good time. :) Their house is awesome and perfect for parties, to boot! 

'Gianna's Kitchen' in action :D
There were lots of pies (sorry about all the random picture sizes. I stole them from Facebook and I'm not talented enough (yet) to fix this.):

My Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno in Cornbread Pie

Raw Vegan Banana Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream

Indian Gravy Curry Pie

Brie, Pear, and Caramelized Onion Pizza Pie

and a bunch more-of which I took no pictures!
Thai Pie
Frito Pie
Boston Creme Pie
Key Lime Pie
Apple Pie
Brownie Cookie Pie
Salami Pizza Pie

and probably more that I'm forgetting. It was an epic pi day and an epic feast. :D

Preston was still out when I got home, but showed up soon after. Thank goodness too, because some crazy homeless man was SCREAMING repeated obscenities and sounded like he was circling the block. Life in Santa Monica is 2 parts posh, 1 part homeless people. :P

On Sunday morning, Preston was sleeping off the previous day's festivities, when someone started yelling his name from outside. Thinking it was our neighbor (who is a bit...hrmm. annoying?), I initially ignored the yelling. Since it persisted, I eventually went outside to find Preston's friend Tom at the gate inviting us to brunch.

Preston roused himself and we followed shortly behind Tom up into the canyons for what Tom promised to be a fantastic meal.

We went to The Old Place, which is an ADORABLE western themed restaurant tucked into the hills near Malibu. 

Tom, his girlfriend Athena, and friend Brad were treated to the private back room and we joined them there. Since we were a bit behind, we'd ordered from the car and arrived just as the food was being served. 

Oh. my. Gosh. The food at this place is INCREDIBLE. The flavors were just right and it was all cooked home style...many things in a skillet. The guys got steak and eggs, Athena and I got skillet frittatas, and we shared blue corn meal flapjacks, and a cinnamon roll. I honestly couldn't choose which meal was best. It was all incredible. If you are anywhere near LA...go here IMMEDIATELY.

As if it wasn't all completely amazing already, we got serenaded by the musicians playing at the restaurant. It was fantastic. :) :) 

We wound through the twisting canyon roads to spend the afternoon at "Staircase", the beach where Preston and I were engaged. Preston and Tom surfed while the three of us not brave enough to enter the frigid ocean lounged on our (world traveling) tapestry talking and reading. It was a great afternoon.

Seriously...this blue sheet has been everywhere. Preston like to call it a tapestry :D

This guy was taking selfies. :P
Somehow, we were all hungry for dinner and stopped at Duke's in Malibu to watch the sunset. Dukes was just typical bar food, but the setting was nice. Everyone but me ordered DELICIOUS (but oh man would it make me sick) 'lava flows', which were rum filled smoothies. Yum.

Despite the inch along traffic on the way back into Santa Monica, it was a great day. There are a lot worse things than being forced to travel 10mph along the Pacific Coast. 

I hope that everyone has a great week! :D