sonya6000

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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SEDONA: A WEEKEND GETAWAY

Sedona 6sedona is one of my favorite places to visit, as i’ve mentioned here, here and here. it’s just close enough for a quick weekend trip, yet far enough to escape the city life in los angeles.

{i originally wrote this post a year ago and never got around to actually putting it up on the blog…why? because sometimes life happens and you move on to different things BUT since it’s now a year later, on memorial day weekend, i decided why not post it?? it’s like a weird full circle moment. a lot has changed since the last time we were in sedona, more on that in another post.}

this memorial day weekend i spent most of my time reading and soaking up some vitamin d in santa monica. as i’m typing this, courtney and leo are flying back from england…i’m waiting to pick them up from the airport and trying to distract myself from the excitement that i will soon be reunited with my two favorite people…it’s been a long two weeks. aaannywaaayy, last time we were all in sedona was to visit the newest member of our family; squirt the mini horse. for a long time, leo was the newest member of the family- taking in all the love, attention and glory… not sure how he’s been coping with the fact that squirt has stolen his thunder, but i mean look at this horse! he’s stolen all of our hearts!Sedona 7Sedona 5on our way back to the house, we stopped by the mcguireville annual tractor and engine show. each year the town hosts this show over memorial day weekend putting all their tractors on display. we didn’t stay long, not that there wasn’t much to see but if we stayed any longer, we would’ve melted into the asphalt… so we went to the creek to cool off.Biker

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before our long weekend came to and end, we had to make one last visit to see squirt. we just couldn’t get enough of him! after saying goodbye to the little guy, we headed back to the house for a bonfire, cake and some tunes. god, i love sedona.

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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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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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ALMOND BUTTER ACAI BOWL

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ingredients:

  • 1 packet of frozen acai mix
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 2 bananas- 1 for topping
  • 2 tablespoons of almond butter
  • 2 cups of frozen strawberries, blueberries and kale
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • granola
  • fresh strawberries, blueberries and blackberries for topping

ACAI 1there really isn’t much to this recipe. run hot water over the frozen acai packet and then squeeze into the blender. add in the frozen berries, kale, banana, almond milk and honey. once blended, i taste to see if it needs more of anything. this time around i added some fresh strawberries to the mix for more sweetness.ACAI 9i think i would skip the blueberry topping next time. it’s not their fault, i just don’t like little balls in my food. it took some time for me to even like the idea of boba….ACAI 4ACAI 10

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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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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LULA’S GARDEN

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a sweet friend gifted me this adorable succulent box for my birthday and i’m obsessed. i had two thoughts when opening my box- 1.”how friggin cute!” 2.”why have i never heard of this before?!”- so i went online to find out the skinny on all things lula’s garden. founder, liraz birnbaum says this all began when she was looking for a unique gift idea. inspired by the growing popularity of succulents, due to the rise of drought awareness in california, lulu’s garden was born.

“I wanted to create a gift that would last and be an ongoing reminder, a gift of life … ”  

lula’s garden supports local farmers by using locally grown succulents from southern california while offering a variety of succulent boxes to choose from. inside each box you find a curated succulent garden with instructions and tools on how to pretty much keep your garden alive. lucky for me, it needs minimal effort and is very hard to kill. (bonus points) take a look at my “unboxing” below and check out lula’s garden for more succulent gift ideas.

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