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GINGERBREAD SPICE & EVERYTHING NICE!

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it’s that time of year again! where the christmas music is overplayed (guilty), turtlenecks are worn in 70-degree weather and i pretend to be on the great british bake off. the best place to pretend you know everything about baking is at williams sonoma, but it’s a dangerous place to be during the holidays. they have peppermint bark, holiday mixes and lots of festive dining decor… which is how we ended up here with this blog post! i saw this holiday bundt pan and knew it’s rightful place was at home with me. it didn’t matter that i had never made a bundt cake before, i was going to make a bundt cake now. i’ll admit baking does not come naturally for me, i need a recipe and i will follow that recipe to the very last pinch of salt. so, when i saw this gingerbread spice quick bread i was at ease having the reassurance of detailed directions all along the back of the pretty packaging. this recipe was quick and simple and i can’t wait to make more for the holiday season.

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apparently, while mixing ingredients i bounce as if i’m trying to put a newborn baby to sleep…it’s a new technique.

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LOS ANGELES COFFEE FESTIVAL

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this past saturday my sister and i decided to get hopped up on caffeine and explore the los angeles coffee festival. if i’m being completely honest, i use instant coffee regularly- it’s quick and doesn’t taste terrible. i, however, did not disclose that info with any of the coffee connoisseurs out of fear of being shunned and having rocks thrown at me. lucky for us, there were a lot of nice people who knew a lot about coffee and were willing to explain a lot of it to us…

our first booth- elmhurst 1925, a plant- milk company. we got to taste their new barista edition series which was created to give a more rich and creamier consistency than your average plant based milks…i told you there were nice people willing to explain things to us! the new barista series will be hitting retailers very soon so keep your eyes open!

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next up, the straus family creamery. 1. it’s organic- (the first 100% certified organic creamery in the country) 2. the woman at their booth made us milk tea coffee and we will remember it and cherish it for the rest of our lives.

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i know what you’re thinking…“you went to a coffee festival and all you did was try milk and creamers?” don’t worry, i’m getting the coffee…

there were a lot of vendors that were environmentally conscious. it was so great to see all these companies showing that they care.

cold brews… i love a good cold brew and chameleon cold brew is one of the good ones. i already knew what they were all about and stopped by their booth to selfishly indulge in their goodness. if you haven’t tried the mexican coffee cold brew, drop everything now and go to your nearest gelsons, whole foods, cvs, target and get your hands on one. you won’t regret it.

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one particularly great part about this festival was the support it had for the arts. to learn more about each project, click on the links below.

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and now for some “adult coffee” by mr. black coffee liqueur…all the way from australia! coming from a visual merchandising background, i was originally drawn to this booth because of its decor. i was handed a shot of the cold brew coffee liqueur. thinking it would taste mostly like coffee with a hint of alcohol, i took the shot. i was WRONG. it tasted mostly of alcohol with a hint of coffee. they have so many yummy looking recipes online that i would definitely be interested in trying some of them but i think i’d pass on having any more shots.

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this booth isn’t technically coffee, but it is coffee flavored! i didn’t get to try any of the coffee candy but i overheard only good things from the folks that did.

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thanks for the good times and the caffeine high LACF!img_7124-1

 

A DAY OF RUINS

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i was planning on posting about the rest of my trip to peru much sooner but well…life happened…between work and an unexpected surgery, i’ve only just finished organizing my thoughts and notes that have been left on my phone for too long. so here it is in all it’s glory, part 2 of my trip to peru, “A Day of Ruins”. in case you need a refresher, you can find my first post here.

our day began with the ruins at ollantaytambo which for the record are at the bottom, middle and top of a mountain…just for the record! so, we began our ascent to the top. much like the burning in my thighs, it’s hard to forget about these incredible views. we were up among the clouds, face to face with the mountain- it was definitely worth the climb… you know, just for the record.

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after our morning “workout”, we went to see the town of chinchero. as we went deeper into town, the quieter it seemed. the little noise we did hear was only from our own footsteps on the cobbled ground. our guide brought us to a church; it was sunday. it felt like we were standing there waiting for something to happen and then the church doors opened. out poured what seemed to be the entire town of chinchero; talking, eating, playing. this quiet part of town was now filled with color, laughter and food. i felt surrounded and consumed and i loved it!

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our guide told us that after church, the women gather to talk about their community and discuss items of “business” while the men play futbol. i think these peruvians might be on to something! just below the plaza was a marketplace with food, trinkets and lots of peruvian goods, so we went to have a look. surprisingly i didn’t buy a thing! rob, however, couldn’t help himself…he just HAD to have it.28

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we ended our day at pisac with some more ruins on top of another mountain, with more incredible views…are you sick of it yet?? me either. stay tuned for the main event…peru post number 3…MACHU PICCHU!39

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JUNE GLOOM

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IT IS OFFICIALLY SUMMER! 1. because the valley feels like the surface of the sun and 2. because the summer solstice last thursday told me so. i spent my “first” weekend of summer in santa monica (bye burbank). ready to soak in that summer sun, i packed all the essentials for the perfect summer day (cheese, swimsuit, spf 100). unfortunately, once i got to the west side i was greeted with clouds and fog… sneaky june gloom! but no amount of gloom was going to stop my summer celebration! so i prepared my summer spread of fruits and cheeses and enjoyed them from the comfort of a cozy couch.

fruit-

  • cherries
  • figs
  • pears
  • pluots

cheese-

  • p’tit basque
  • bucheron*** my absolute favorite cheese***
  • gouda
  • french bread
  • crackers

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PLAYLIST NO. 3: SUMMER DAYDREAM

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Pergo, Italy / 9-4-2016 / 35mm Pentax

summer is officially upon us… i know that because 1.) it’s june 2.) i’m sleeping on top of my blankets 3.) WATERMELONS EVERYWHERE… i love watermelon, nothing says summer quite like a sweet watermelon… i’ve put together a playlist with some tunes that have been keeping me company in this summer heat. grab your swimsuit, slather on that spf 100 (skin cancer is no joke) and don’t forget your speakers.

you can listen to the playlist here.

  1. “maybe (luck of the draw)” – the vaccines
  2. “fields of blue” – tennis
  3. “don’t delete the kisses” – wolf alice
  4. “radio” – sylvan esso
  5. “real love baby” – father john misty
  6. “don’t take the money” – bleachers
  7. “big sis” – sales
  8. “hunger” – florence + the machine
  9. “so sad, so sad” – varsity
  10. “on + off” – maggie rogers
  11. “let’s find an out” – snail mail
  12. “next of kin” – alvvays
  13. “stay high” – spector
  14. “outer space” – liz cooper & the stampede

A PERUVIAN WELCOME

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i’m finally getting around to posting about my trip to peru. this trip came together for me pretty last minute…i really didn’t have much time to prepare for my departure so when i returned to my life in LA, it was just as i had left it…with an unmade bed. SO…first things first, make my bed. secondly, try and keep some food down. unfortunately, upon my return i had a visit to the urgent care and the ER (dehydration and a possible parasite) everything i tried to consume would not agree with me, my stomach or my mom’s habit of force feeding her children to make sure they’re eating enough. so my pictures from peru went unseen and unsorted. looking through them now i’m reminded of all the things that we had done, all that we had seen. we were up among the mountains, clouds and ruins; experiencing a different culture, learning about peru’s history and exploring its land.

technically, our first night in peru was spent in lima. we had landed a little after midnight; checked into our hotel, had a pisco sour at the bar, went to sleep (more like took a nap) then woke up early the next morning to catch our flight to cusco. it’s still kind of a blur to me but when we landed in cusco we were greeted by a woman called nielda at baggage claim. we followed her to our shuttle van where her husband, jose luis was waiting for us. we strapped our luggage to the top of the van and off we went to the sacred valley! once we got out of the city center of cusco, jose luis had pulled over to ask if we wanted to stop and see how peruvian textiles were made… all of us a little delirious from our journey in weren’t really sure if we were up for it as we were supposed to be heading to our lodge which was still about an hour away…and then jose luis said “llamas”. my eyes widened and i calmly told everyone to get out of the car…quickly. img_7152

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after giving us some coca tea, they began their demonstration on how to create textiles using minerals, llama wool and bugs…yes bugs. as she told us, they sacrifice a bug for the color of their blood; add lemon juice and mix with a salt crystal. it also doubles as a lipstick…i thought she was kidding but then she proceeded to smear the blood across her lips and i thought “damn that color looks great on her”.

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on our way out, they let us feed the llamas! it was everything i had imagined my first experience in peru would be.

the next morning, jose luis and nielda met us at our lodge, we had such a great time with them the day before we ended up hiring them for the next couple of days to be our own local tour guides! close to where we were staying was the town of maras. i was familiar with this town as i had heard about the salt mines located there. that’s where we began day two of peru. these expansive and primitive pools were gorgeous to look at. essentially, it’s more of the same but the vast majority of them consumed you once you stepped foot on the mines. it was incredible. even more incredible is that they still mine the salt themselves through each pool. img_8162

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after exploring the pools, we made sure to stop at the market up top to get some salted goodies to bring back to the states. unfortunately, those goodies didn’t last long, they didn’t even last long enough to make it out of maras…whoops! we couldn’t help ourselves… it was that good.

next up were the incan terraces of moray. it was only about a 15 minute drive from where we were and my oh my what a beautiful 15 minutes it was.

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the actual purpose of these terraces isn’t fully known. jose luis was telling us that it is believed that the ruins were used as an agricultural laboratory by the incas. each terrace differed in temperature by roughly 27F creating micro climates to test crops and experiment with them. he said it was that or there were aliens here…

as we continued to roam the ruins, i noticed nielda had gone off on her own, we continued to climb. as we were heading up the hill i see her running towards us. i thought “no need to run, we won’t leave without you” but then as she held out her hands i realized she was running to show us what she had been doing for the last 20 minutes…

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CATCHING A FRIGGIN DRAGONFLY. she caught a damn dragonfly with her BARE HANDS. nielda, queen of dragonflies.

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PLAYLIST NO. 2: THROWBACK THURSDAY

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Fullerton Arboretum / 8-7-2016 / 35mm Pentax

over the weekend i was combing through my songs on spotify and couldn’t decide on what i wanted to listen to. i gave up and hit shuffle to see what the spotify gods had in store for me… and then a song came on that i hadn’t listened to in a veeerrry long time. so many memories associated with that tune, it made me feel good listening to it again. it got me thinking of all the songs that i used to bump through my speakers day in and day out, some now sadly neglected by myself over the years. so! i put together a little playlist for this throwback thursday in honor of all those tunes that don’t get much play time anymore… you are not forgotten.

you can find my playlist here.

  1. “sealion”- feist
  2. “always like this”- bombay bicycle club
  3. “postcards from italy”- beirut
  4. “run from the gun”- dead confederate
  5. “magnetised”- tom odell
  6. “put me to work”- papa
  7. “here i dreamt i was an architect> dreams”- Colin Meloy
  8. “fever dream”- young summer
  9. “four winds”- bright eyes
  10. “cover up”- lucy rose
  11. “some place”- nick waterhouse
  12. “now and again”- tor miller
  13. “hey mami”- sylvan esso

THE LAST LADY DATE OF THE YEAR

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last post of 2017! what better way to end this year than with my ladies. man, lady dates are good for the sooouuul! earlier in the week, i went out with my sister and my museum buddy to spend the day downtown. first up was yayoi kusama’s exhibit at the broad. somehow by the luck of the draw we got tickets to this amazing exhibition… 4 months of anticipation and we finally were able to see yayoi’s amazing work.

after the museum we walked over to the grand central market to eat ALL the yummy food. we ate at the sari sari store where courtney and i reconnected with our filipino side. it was the second best adobo i’ve ever had…first being my grandma’s and nothing can ever top that. dessert was served at valerie’s where dana and i shared a coffee crunch cake with honeycomb all over the icing and we nearly died. it was the best last lady date of 2017!

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on our way to the grand central market, we stumbled upon the angels flight railway and hopped on. this is where we cried when we had to walk up all the stairs on our way back to our car. good times…good times.

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EASTON RHETT CURTISS

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I’M GOING TO BE AN AUNTIE! kenna, the soon to be mama is one of my oldest friends. we grew up together, first on a cul de sac in eastbrook, then only a street away after we both moved to a different neighborhood. our families (and the lewis fam) were (and still are) always at an arms length of each other. it’s hard to mention one without the other, it’s been the mitchell, mccarthy and lewis family for a long time now… kenna, taylor and i even share the same tattoo to commemorate our lifelong friendship- because it’s not forever until you’ve got ink under your skin right?! i’m actually looking forward to showing our grandchildren our saggy tattoo after we all grow old… but first comes your son, baby easton. he’s due february 9, 2018 and he is already so loved. he’s one lucky dude to have you and casey as his parents.

last weekend we showered the hell out of mama and her baby boy, surrounded by friends, family and so much love.

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you were able to create your own trail mix at the “trail mix bar” which meant NO RAISINS, HALLELUJAH! i’m not saying that my trail mix only consisted of m&ms but it was about 90% m&m’s and 10% popcorn. i really enjoyed my trail mix freedom.

after folks were able to get some food and drinks, we let the games begin…BABY SHOWER 20

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GIRL’S TRIP: SAN FRAN

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ahhhh girl’s trips…there really is nothing better than a good old fashioned girl’s trip. imagine us out all night, drinking fancy cocktails, walking in uncomfortable shoes and talking about all the crude things that girl’s actually talk about when no guys are around…a real sex and the city vibe you know? cut to us in our hotel room laying in bed, dana passed out and i using the massage tools we bought in chinatown…real ragers we are. in our defense, we had arrived early saturday morning and wasted no time in getting our feet on the ground and our bellies full. two things you should know about dana and myself…. we first bonded over donuts, then dogs…aaannnnd the rest is history.

first on our list (after many hours spent on yelp) was the ferry building marketplace. we walked through all the vendors, pet all the dogs and tasted all the fruit…we also had pie for breakfast. we came up with a couple of different hashtags for the weekend…#carbfest #dogsdogsdogs #kenzieanddanasweekendoffun all of which we only remembered after the weekend was already over but i guess that’s what happens when you are living in the moment…or stuffing your face with all the good food that san fran has to offer. seriously sf…i’m impressed.SAN FRAN 6

SAN FRAN 4SAN FRAN 7after our morning at the ferry building, we started to make our way to the museum of ice cream. you might be thinking, “but kenzie, didn’t you both already go the museum of ice cream in la?!” why yes dear reader…yes we did and my reason for why we had to go see it again in sf is well… because…FOMO…and they had re-released tickets for the saturday we were going to be in town so it was like…. MEANT TO BE. we got these tickets very last minute and it kind of threw a wrench into our food itinerary so we had to rework our schedule a bit but it all worked out…we got the penis cookies in the end (put that on a bumper sticker). SAN FRAN 11SAN FRAN 9 copy

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SAN FRAN 29the next morning, we hopped out of bed bright and early and headed to mr. holmes bakehouse. when i say “hopped” i mean that in the most literal sense possible. neither of us brushed our hair, i barely put my pants on but we wanted a cruffin so damn bad… love (food) makes us do crazy things.

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stay tuned for more from our trip!