lifestyle blog

A BIRTHDAY ROAD TRIP

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tis true, my twin and i turned 26 last weekend and to celebrate we took a quick road trip to monetery. to make the most of our weekend, we headed up to san luis obispo on friday after work. it was a tough task but we made it. we stayed the night in slo so we could get an early start the next day, a reservation at the copper cafe was a good reason to set an alarm on the weekend.

this place was a DREAM. i’m already trying to plan another trip to slo so i could stay at the madonna inn and be surrounded by pink at all times of the day. *i hated pink as a kid and i think i’m making up for it now…*

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Copper Cafe

*cody making fun of the fact that i ordered three drinks with my breakfast* yes, i bought one of those goblets from the store and will be drinking all of my liquids out of it forever.

did i mention these two joined us for the trip?? dang i love them. (best roommates ever)

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post breakfast we went to see bubblegum alley- where you can surround yourself with other people’s spit and bad breath by choice! no, we did not contribute to the wall…

Bubble Gum Alley

Processed with VSCO with e1 presetProcessed with VSCO with e1 preset Processed with VSCO with e1 presetwe continued our drive up north by stopping in morro bay to try and see some otters. SPOILER ALERT: we didn’t see any otters but we did see a corgi so we consider that a win.

after our corgi sighting, we continued on to cayucos for some cookies and stumbled upon a vintage store where i almost took home this jacket…some serious thought went into deciding against this jacket. i toss and turn at night wondering if i made the right decision.

Drivingand so the road trip continues to big sur! this was a long stretch for us; it took a few hours to get to the next stop… a lot of snacks and some terrible views were consumed within those hours (see below).

so we didn’t get the obligatory bixby bridge picture… as we approached the crowded bridge it was a pretty unanimous decision “DON’T STOP! KEEP GOING! WE’RE ALMOST THERE!” we were so close (yet so far) to monterey and as much as we wanted this road trip to be about the journey, we really wanted to just stop driving. in hindsight, we could have used another day (or two) to really explore but you live and you learn right?! once we got to monterey, we dropped our bags off at the hotel and headed straight to dinner to drink and eat our weight in pasta – WE DESERVED IT.

before embarking on our journey back home, we wanted to see the beautiful 17-mile drive. i know what you’re thinking…”before you drive the 6 hours back home, you’re going to drive 17 miles to see beaches?!” the answer is yes, and like i said, “you live and you learn.” i loved our not so little road trip up the coast and spending time with my loved ones in a car for hours on end. would do it again in a heartbeat.

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our weekend on film below. xx

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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A WEEKEND IN CHICAGO

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this past weekend my sister and i went to chicago to see our two friends tie the knot. there is something magical about that city in the winter, maybe it’s because i’m not from there and i’m born and raised a cali girl so i’ve never really experienced “seasons” but i fell hard for this place and it’s crazy weather. i mean the weather wasn’t ideal for exploring and on the day of the wedding, i experienced rain like i’ve never seen before but since it was my first time to chicago, i wanted to make the most of our quick trip… so i made an eatinerary – see what i did there?? this basically determined where our time was being spent based on which restaurants we were eating at. saturday we pretty much dedicated that day to catching up on sleep, crying and dancing. i’m a great wedding date by the way.

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the next day, the weather decided to chill and stop raining sideways, so we were able to spend some time outdoors. first stop on the eatinerary- goddess and the baker. this place was PACKED… so we ordered quickly, snagged a spot and devoured our breakfast. we didn’t get any pastries for the road because we had many more stops to go on our eatinerary and didn’t want to get full before we got to the rest. it’s all about pacing yourself right?? i am kicking myself for not getting at least one pastry to try… my biggest regret of 2018. HANDS DOWN.

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to try and walk off our meal before the next stop on the eatinerary, we headed over to millennium park. as we approached the park, we could see an ice rink peaking through the trees,  we smelt the christmas tree and felt the crisp air on our cheeks. it felt like we were stepping into a hallmark movie and i never wanted to leave.

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next up on the eatinerary was some schnitzel, pretzels and cheese from the christkindlmarket. we underestimated how crowded this place would be (on the 1st weekend of december…who were we kidding??) we looked at as many vendors as the mob would let us and squeezed our way to the front of some store to purchase some christmas trinkets. to emphasize just how crowded it was- this was an outdoor market and i was sweating from all the body heat. unfortunately, because of the crowds and the fact that we had to catch a flight later that night, we had to cut our time at the market short and weren’t able to try the schnitzel, pretzels or cheese but we made sure to grab a hot chocolate in the cutest little souveneir mugs on our way out!lrg_dsc04438-1

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going from one hot chocolate to the next! this was a must for our trip as we’ve read here, here and here . mindy’s hot chocolate… god this place is good and it’s got all the awards to prove it. courtney had the old fashioned and i the dark oat milk… i have never tasted something so diviinnneeee. to top it off, there were homemade marshmallows in our drinks. yep! HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS. i’m ending this post on a deliciously positive note. until next time chicago! xx

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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 CUP OF JO: HALEY NAHMAN

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photo by julia robbs 

do you like reading a cup of jo? do you like house tours?? GREAT, me too. haley nahman of manrepeller and cat, bug of bug.tv are featured on the aforementioned website talking design, cheese and living solo. for the full tour, you can check it out here.

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photo by julia robbs

 

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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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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AN ITALIAN WEDDING

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it was only in september when i was last in cortona visiting hannah and luca for the first time. fast forward 9 months and i’m back in cortona with my brother for their wedding…their WEDDING! this was cody’s first time in cortona (in italy actually) and i couldn’t wait to show him all the things that made me fall in love with this little town. i didn’t need to do much selling, cortona pretty much sells itself. between the wedding, sight seeing and pasta eating, i think he fell hard for it too.

cody and i flew into rome pretty early and couldn’t check in to our hotel until 2pm soooo we freshened up in the lobby bathroom (thank god for l’ocittane’s verbena refreshing towelettes) and began our first day in rome at 7:00 in the morning! (i think this is what they call making lemonade out of life’s lemons). first up? the spanish steps…cody was eager to run to the top and take in the view… i was eager to run from the sun and keep the awkward jumpsuit tan at bay (spoiler alert, i still got an awkward tan).IMG_0251

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after a full day in the city, we were ready to check in to our hotel room and get some rest. with a nice shower and a belly full of pasta (i promise to show all the food pictures), it only took me about 3 seconds to fall asleep. i think i might take this secret back with me to the states and use it as my bed time remedy…

one train ride later aannnddd we made it to cortona! we went out to explore the town before dinner and ran into some familiar faces in the piazza; the bridal party, some wedding guests and even the bride and groom! i love small towns.IMG_0343

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there was a market in the center of town over the weekend, so we spent our morning browsing all the vendors. with a lot of self convincing (and cody’s reply of “you don’t need that.” to my “but it’s itaaaalian!”) i managed to not buy a thing! it was hard….like really hard. after we walked through the market, we caught the train to florence to check out the uffizi museum and stop for lunch at my favorite sandwich spot. hannah took me to this place last time i visited and i couldn’t wait to take cody. he’s only heard me talk about it every day since we got into italy.

it’s wedding time!!! i’m so happy to have made the journey to witness these two share their love for each other. the ceremony was translated in english and italian and took place overlooking the beautiful province of arezzo. the day couldn’t be any more perfect. salute to the happy couple!

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FullSizeRender 28the day after the wedding, we went over to the house where hannah’s family was staying and hung out poolside with the newlyweds. it was the perfect way to spend our last day in cortona.IMG_0759IMG_0726

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cody and i left for rome the next morning. this time around, we took a pretty relaxed approach to the city. we spent the time we had left in italy as laid back as we possibly could… wake up. eat pasta. roam the streets (pun intended). eat gelato. roam some more. repeat. we walked through the villa borghese gardens, found a bench and sat there for a couple of hours. there was a light breeze that day, i think i could’ve listened to the trees sway back and forth forever.IMG_1387

 

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OJAI: A WEEKEND GETAWAY

OJAI 16last weekend we went up to ojai to get some good old fashion fresh air and vitamin D. only an hour and 15 mins north of los angeles, it made for the perfect weekend getaway. while out exploring the city, courtney and i discovered one of our new favorite shops, it took a lot of convincing from her to stop me from buying every damn thing in sight. as we continued to roam the streets, we were able to really grasp the feel for the community. everything about ojai is focused on its local community and i love it. on saturday we ate at the town’s pizza joint (papa lennon’s pizzeria) and shared a table with a family and their dog. their dog was going from table to table as if he were the owner of the restaurant, checking in on everyone, making sure we were all enjoying our food and having a good time and then he’d lay down wherever he felt comfortable. the next day at the farmer’s market we saw that same family as one of the vendors. i didn’t know them personally (although i felt like i knew their dog) but there was this weird familiarity as if they were my neighbors i’ve known for years “hiya dave, how’s the wife? is little jimmy doing okay?” but i guess that’s ojai- making you feel welcome and part of the community, even when you’re just visiting.

DSC01463such a beautiful day for a farmer’s market. music, food and friendly faces.

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we couldn’t wait to get back and try all of our new goodies. the quinoa bread with the balsamic vinegar olive tapenade went perfectly together. i found out that unlike the rest of the popcorn flavors which you can buy online, you can get the rosemary garlic flavor (my fav) at the farmer’s market. i would drive up to ojai for this popcorn over and over again.OJAI 20

our amazing digs for the weekend! my boss built this place from the ground up and now that it’s in it’s final stages, she offered us to stay there before she puts it up on air bnb – make sure to keep an eye out for this property this summer!DSC01826DSC01918DSC01628Bathroom

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i don’t know what came over me but the minute i saw these chickens i ran outside and wanted to be close to them… i have about 500 pictures to show for it.OJAI

DESERT X

desert x 3after our failed attempt at camping in the desert this past weekend (who knew the desert got so hot? -that’s sarcasm) we decided to make some lemonade with our sour lemons so we stopped by the desert x exhibition on our way home to see mirage by doug aitken.desert 2

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