Summer So Far…

Well, school has been out for a week and I am finally getting around to vegging and doing absolutely NOTHING (just in time for summer school to start on Monday)! I (very easily) convinced Whitney to change her flight to Friday so that meant an extra day of roomie time and that summer break literally started the second that bell rang at the end of the day. We definitely kept busy the entire time; I’m seriously impressed with all the stuff we did. Here are the highlights!

Disneyland // Note to self, Disneyland is especially crazy in the summer and should probably be avoided. We ended up going on Monday because Michael wasn’t able to go on Sunday and figured that perhaps it would be less crowded? Nope. We didn’t get there until late morning but still only went on about four rides. The lines were just ridiculous– 60 minutes for Pirates of the Caribbean and 150 for Space Mountain. Who waits in lines that long?! The real mission of the day though was introducing Whitney to the amazingness of Dole Whips and I’m pretty sure that part was a success.

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PUMP and SUR // Vanderpump Rules is currently filming and we thought for sure this would FINALLY be the time (third times a charm) that we see our favorite train wrecks. Unfortunately, we struck out again. It was still super fun hanging out and people watching. Two of my friends from work, Marcia and Emily, came too. Tip to those that love the show and are in town and want to visit the two restaurants: the drinks and appetizers are good but the regular menu food is definitely not with the money.

Mount Hollywood // This is definitely my go-to hiking/outdoor activity spot. Recently, mornings have been super ugly (hello, June gloom) but the day we got ourselves out of bed early turned out to be a perfect day! Nice and clear, minus the smog. Going on a weekday was also a good choice, too. We got in about 12,000 steps and felt no guilt in enjoying our breakfast quesadilla/burrito when we were done.

Ellen’s Game of Games // I got to high-five Ellen! Emily got tickets to the new game show hosted by Ellen (think all the games played during the regular Ellen show, just bigger) and the timing worked out perfectly because Whitney was here and because it was my only week off before summer school/traveling. There was a ton of waiting (both outside and inside the studio) but it was totally worth it. We had super good seats one row up and at the end– the end where, between segments, Ellen walked to get backstage (hence the high-five). It was really fun to see how they film the show and Ellen was super funny (and sincere) when interacting with the contestants and the audience. The best part is that we will be getting tickets to a taping of next season’s regular Ellen show!

So far so good for the start of summer. I have two weeks of summer school and then Michael and I are off to Washington, D.C.!

Spring Break Part 2

Sadly, spring break has come to an end. Here is how I spent the rest of the week:

San Francisco was super fun; we packed a lot in to our three days there! Unforunately, we didn’t get to make it to Alcatraz. My fault. I booked our tickets for the 14th without realizing it. And I should have because we left on the 13th. Once we noticed the mistake, the other days were booked up. That was the ONE thing that was on my must-do list, but that’s okay. Michael tried super hard to get us tickets but it didn’t work out. San Francisco is an easy flight from LA (and cheap, too) if we ever want to visit again.

We stayed at a hotel near the airport and took BART in each day. BART is good for getting into the city, but definitely no help in getting around. My Fitbit loved me this week with all the walking we did! Not everything we wanted to see was walkable though and I found a Groupon for a 3-hour bus tour. We went through all the different neighborhoods and saw all the touristy spots: Lombard Street, Palace of Fine Arts, the Painted Ladies, the Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks, etc. We definitely couldn’t see all that walking (and yes, I realize they have buses here but that’s a whole other thing to figure out!). The BART station where we got off was right in Union Square which was the perfect spot to spend the rest of the day—and shop. My favorite thing! Michaels? Not so much. He was a good sport with all the time I spent in the different stores.

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We walked the mile to the BART station on Wednesday morning and headed to Fisherman’s Wharf. One thing on Michael’s must-do list was have a clam chowder and there is enough to do down in that area for hours. We found a restaurant with clam chowder (and something non-fishy for me) and sat outside. The weather was perfect! After lunch we headed to Ghirardelli where I got extra samples because Michael doesn’t like chocolate and then went back down to Fisherman’s Wharf to Ripley’s Believe it or Not. My family and I went here about 17 years ago and let me tell you, it’s not as cool as an adult as it is when you are young. We also decided to do a bay tour since we couldn’t make it to Alcatraz. I didn’t think I would be getting on a boat again that soon but there I was… it was a really cool way to see the Golden Gate Bridge (sailed right under it!) and we made our way around Alcatraz on our way back to port.

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The other thing on Michael’s must-do list was to go to a Giants game. He hates the Giants and my dad texted me something about being at that “hell-hole,” but Michael is trying to cross off all the stadiums from his list. I will say that the stadium was super nice. I only have Dodger stadium for reference and yes, I get that it is historical and yada yada, but that’s just code for OLD. The one thing I did not like about AT&T Park (and what we struggled with all week) was the wind. IT WAS SO COLD!!! Rain was also in the forecast and it held off for most of the game. I finally convinced Michael to head out in the middle of the 7th inning; I owe him for that. And one other thing: what stadium does not have lids and straws for your drinks?! Dodger stadium at least has that…

Our flight left Thursday evening so we headed back into the city to Chinatown. I ate at Chipotle but Michael opted for some authentic Chinese food. We walked around and headed back to Union Square. Again, Michael was a good sport with my shopping. We ended up being super early to the airport because our flight was delayed and we didn’t get the notification until we were at the hotel to get our things. It was okay though because it gave us time to get caught up on some stuff (emails for him and tv shows for me! 🙂 )

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All in all, it was a very successful spring break. Like I said in my last post, I need a vacation from my vacation! Luckily, I am heading out to Corona this morning for some rest and relaxation. Oh, and some Pippa time! Hope y’all have a wonderful weekend and Happy Easter!

 

 

 

Spring Break Part 1

I am currently writing this in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!* More specifically, right off the waters of Ensenada, Mexico. I’m trying not to pay too much attention to the constant swaying (hard not to!) and I’ve only been on the boat for 48 hours but it seems like at least a week!

Spring break is this week and some co-workers and myself decided to start it off with a bang… we battled LA traffic to get to Long Beach on Friday (thankfully off a little earlier that day) and made it with just enough time to get on board our cruise. We endured the safely briefing (thank goodness for that we will find out later) and met up on the lido deck to watch the boat leave the port. That night was spent having dinner, singing karaoke (no, I did not get up on the stage but I was a great support system on the dance floor!), and dancing at the ship’s “club.” They played some really good music, some of which took me back to high school!

Saturday was our “at-sea” day. It rained in the morning but ended up being super nice the rest of the day, minus the wind. I am not a public pool type of gal so I didn’t bring my bathing suit. I don’t think many of us actually even went in because everything was so crowded. No way would I get in a hot tub full of 15 strangers. No, thank you! We did Harry Potter trivia, ate lunch, relaxed on the deck, and then spent a good portion of the afternoon in our rooms recovering from the night before. What can I say, I’m an old lady! Dinner was the “formal night” and we went to see the comedy show after. So funny! Most of us called it a night after that. We planned to dock the next morning in Ensenada and at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get off the boat. I hadn’t had any time just to myself or any time to read my book but decided hey, why not?

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We docked the next morning and had breakfast before we (thankfully) found others in our group. We all paid for the “social” internet plan that included Facebook and Instagram. Those didn’t work too well but it the $12 was worth it to be able to text via iMessage. It came in handy for days when we needed to find each other. We ended up finding a bus to drive us to La Bufadora, a giant blowhole about a 45 minute drive. There was also a market with a bunch of shops. I didn’t buy anything. It definitely reminded me of Zambia, with all the locals trying to sell you anything and everything (and give you the “best” deal). We tried to go to the beach but it was way too windy so settled for a restaurant across the street. A much better choice! Some of us wanted to hang out downtown but myself, Anna, and Naomi wanted to try our luck with Friends Trivia back on the boat. We made it just in time (Fitbit, you better have logged that as exercise!) and took home the trophy! I wasn’t too much help. I’ve seen every episode multiple times but have a horrible memory when it comes to names.

And here comes the terrifying part (noted above with the *). We hung out on the lido deck the rest of the afternoon and went back down to our rooms to charge our phones/get cleaned up. This is where I started this post but my writing was cut short because THE POWER WENT OUT! The generator went out and turned off all the power and the boat stopped moving. I was by myself in the room but thank goodness iMessage worked. It probably lasted for about an hour… the first part was us throwing stuff in our bags and getting our birth certificates/passports, making sure we had shoes on, etc. I told you that safety briefing came in handy. I knew it was something we were going to laugh about later but it was terrifying. Once everything was restored, we finished out the night with dinner.

I had a blast with my co-workers. I don’t think I’ll be a cruise enthusiast and it’ll take a lot of convincing to get me on another one (the power outage and the fact that I got sick from the swaying are to blame), but like I said, it was super fun being with my co-workers. At my past school, there were no relationships developed outside of work. We were colleagues and that was it so I am super thankful to work with a bunch of people that I enjoy spending time with and who get along so well.

Michael and I are off to San Francisco later this afternoon…. I will need a vacation from my vacation!

Passport Stamps

In preparation for my cruise next week, I needed a new passport. Mine expired in 2013 and sadly, I’ve had no reason to renew it in the las couple of years. I am actually going to just be using my birth certificate and driver’s license (and also bringing a print-out of the policy so if they give me any trouble, I’m not stuck on the boat…) but had fun going through my stamps. Here are the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit:

Costa Rica (2003): This trip was the reason why I needed my passport! I went to Costa Rica imagesbetween my sophomore and junior year of high school. It was one of those EF tours organized by my biology teacher, with about 15 students from school. The trip was so long ago that I don’t remember most of it but the highlight was definitely zip lining through the rainforest and white water rafting. I haven’t been rafting since, but loved it so much! Our guide intentionally tipped the raft and while I still don’t forgive him for that, I survived!

Mexico (2005): When I say Mexico, you’re picturing the beaches of Cancun or Cabo but the only Mexico I’ve seen so far is Tijuana. I went in 2005 with my church, just for the day, to help build a home for a family. Tijuana was one of the saddest places I’ve seen.

Unknown-4Canada (2006): And when I say Canada, you’re picturing Vancouver or Toronto. Freshman year
of college, a few of my friends and I went to Nelson, a tiny little city north of Spokane, only about 2 hours across the boarder.

 

 

Zambia (2008): I spent about four weeks in Zambezi, Zambia with my college’s leadership program. We engaged in servant leadership with the community, starting different programs from computer literary, health, and teaching. I taught 9th grade English and Geography at the Unknown-1local basic school. I would walk to the school, about half a mile maybe, every morning for classes and walk back after and help with the literacy program we were also running. Adults would walk for miles, one way, to come spend their afternoons with us. This was the first year of the program, and since then, it has grown immensely and I’m really proud of the work Gonzaga continues to do there. While here, too, we got to go on a safari (it has nothing on the Wild Animal Park) and explore Victoria Falls.

London (2008): Okay, this BARELY counts but I do have a stamp so I’m calling it good. We Unknown-2stopped in London for a short 24 hours (maybe less) on our way back from Zambia. I don’t actually remember what we did but I think we walked around and saw the big sights?

Zambia (2010): I spent another four weeks in Zambia (this time in Monze), working with pre-service teachers. We lived on campus with the students and observed them in their student teaching positions, led professional development with the facility, started a library/literacy center, etc. I am not sure what the status of the program is now as it was also the first year that Gonzaga’s School of Education sent teachers. We had plenty of time to explore including my favorite place again, Victoria Falls.

Unknown-3Botswana (2010): I went on an over-night safari in Botswana. We were only there for a short 24 hours but I did get a stamp so it totally counts!

London (2010): Again, I got to hang out in London on the way back from Zambia (also stopping in Johannesburg– no stamp because we didn’t leave the airport). We had our bags with us but took the tube in to central London and walked around the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and had lunch in Piccadilly Circus (where we saw Usher).

And that’s it for my international travels! I have a super long list of where I want to go eventually. Traveling is expensive and unfortunately my teacher salary doesn’t allow me to travel as much as I’d like but I’m still young. Still plenty of time to see the world!

As Seen in LA

I grew up about 45 minutes outside of Los Angeles and until I moved here last May, I could count on two hands the number of times I had actually visited LA. Those visits were typically just for concerts or baseball games so the city was a whole new place to me when I moved here. I’ve had so much fun exploring the different areas and I have a feeling that there will always be new things to see. One of my favorite things so far about Los Angeles is finding random good words/quotes/murals/things (I don’t have a better description!) in the most random places:

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There is art on a lot of the utility boxes. This one is Downtown.

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This mural is in a restaurant Downtown. I do agree that Los Angeles has better weather than pretty much everywhere (ever).

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I’ve followed WRDSMTH on Instagram for awhile and was super excited the first time I spotted one of his things (still don’t know what to call them!) in LA. This one was after the finish line of a race my mom and I did.

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This Free Little Library is in the front yard of a house in South Pasadena. SO CUTE!

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I spotted these good words outside of a restaurant in Los Feliz.

What’s your favorite thing about the city you live in?

Weekend, Come Back!

This past weekend was so much fun! Steph had texted me a few weeks ago saying she was going to be in LA for work and asked if we could make it a mini-roomie weekend seeing that it was perfect timing with the Zags playing Pepperdine. I convinced Whitney to join the mini-reunion too, but unfortunately Jess was going to be out of town for work. Here are a few gems from our weekend! I love impromptu trips, especially ones with these gals!

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I love South Pasadena. Whitney and I drove through and looked at some houses and spotted this adorable Free Little Library. We were checking out Zillow as we drove through the neighborhoods and it’s probably safe to say that I won’t be a homeowner in South Pasadena anytime soon ($$$).

Happy hour at PUMP was a must. Colin (above) was our bartender the last time we went during roomie weekend and he recognized us right when we walked in (good? bad?). We had reservations at SUR (we made it this time!) and the food was definitely lacking- I think you’re paying for the chance to potentially see someone from the show. If you are ever in town and want the Vanderpump experience, skip SUR and just hang out at PUMP. Tell Colin that the four horsemen told you to swing by!

We headed up to Malibu on Saturday for the Zags game against Pepperdine. We hung with other Zag fans and alumni at a restaurant near by before heading up to the game. I’m confident to say that there was probably an equal number of Zags fan in attendance! We won (here’s hoping we are #1 today!) and headed back home for pizza and One Tree Hill.

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The weather on Sunday was PERFECT! Last time the girls were here we hiked up to Griffith Observatory so this time I decided to take them to Eaton Canyon where the views are just as great. We headed to brunch afterwards, had some fro yo (earned because of the hike), and got to the airport with not a second to spare!

The next roomie weekend is already in the planning process. Spokane? Destination?

What’s Up Wednesday!

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I read Mix and Match Mama’s blog every morning and today I am linking up with her and other bloggers for my first ever What’s Up Wednesday! Enjoy!

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What I’m Eating this Week:

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If you love cookie dough like me, you NEED this! I got the Chocolate Chip Off the Ol’ Block and Birthday Bash in my Christmas stocking and let me tell you, once you open it up, it’ll be gone. I am kind of embarrassed to admit that I finished the first one in two sittings. It’s all going to the same place eventually though, right?

What I’m Reminiscing About:

I’m not sure I’m really reminiscing about anything lately but I do think a lot about where I am now and where I was a year ago. I cannot even put into words how much happier I am. I am back home in California, driving distance from my family, in the same city as Michael for the first time in three years, and at a job I LOVE with co-workers who I enjoy! It’s crazy how much can change in a year!

What I’m Loving:

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Michael and I are binge-watching Homeland and I love having a show to watch together. We have very different tastes in television and while I can get him to watch The Bachelor and Vanderpump Rules with me, they’re not his fave. We both highly recommend if you haven’t seen it!

What I’ve Been up to:

I’ve just been up to normal life. Nothing too interesting.

What I’m Dreading:

I’m not dreading anything at the moment!

What I’m Working on:

I am currently in the process of finding someplace in LA to volunteer. I have a few places in mind but infortunately, with my schedule, the weekends are really the only time I can volunteer. I’ll keep you posted on what I find!

What I’m Excited About:

Spring break (teacher perk!) is still a ways away but I have some fun plans in the works! Michael and I are heading up to San Francisco for a few days to celebrate his birthday and I am also going on a cruise with my co-workers (organized by our admin!)! We are doing a 3-day cruise to Ensenada. I’ll get back the morning of Michael and I’s flight to SF so it’ll be a bit of a rush but I am glad I get to do both trips!

What I’m Watching/Reading:

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What I’ve really been enjoying lately is Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath. I’ve always been extremely fascinated with Scientology and I am the shocked emoji during every episode of this mini-series. My heart breaks learning of the individuals’ stories. I hope the continued coverage and the conversation that Remini and Mike Rinder, another former Scientologist, started will make people aware of the atrocities of this so-called “religion.” Also, I highly recommend Remini’s book if you haven’t read it!

I have a couple books downloaded and ready to go on my Kindle but I haven’t started them yet. I have such good intentions to read every night before I go to sleep but I’m an old lady and it doesn’t always happen. The Zookeeper’s Wife is next on my list… I need to read it before the movie comes out!

What I’m Listening to:

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I love me some Joshua Radin and I get to see him play at the Troubadour tonight! He was previously scheduled to play here last fall but the concert was canceled for some reason.  He also has a new album out this week so be sure to check it out!

What I’m Wearing:

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My mom got me this shirt in my stocking for Christmas and I wore it to Barre for the first time last week. I got a couple compliments!

What I’m Doing This Weekend:

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My college roomies, Whitney and Steph, are in town! Steph is in LA for work and I recruited the rest of the roomies so that we could have a mini-reunion. Unfortunately, Jess won’t be joining us. On the agenda is happy hour at Pump, dinner at Sur, and the Gonzaga game versus Pepperdine. The picture above is from our last LA roomie weekend in November! We had so much fun on the WB Studios tour!

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month:

Kelley and James are coming home for a visit!

What Else is New: 

Umm, I think we covered it all!