to jalama

May 31 – June 2

Jalama Beach, CA

camping at Jalama with Lindsay, Lyla, Hunter and little Olive was perfect (Video of the puppies at their new favorite playground). Completely perfect. Hashtagperfect. We arrived late Friday night, set up camp, woke up to the most incredible day followed up by the most fun night.

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to nyr v. october ~ Los Alamos + Company

Santa Barbara ~ Somewhere Between Santa Barbara and Los Alamos ~ Los Alamos ~ “Solvang”

October 6 & 7, 2012

“Nothing will top that trip in its perfection and randomness.” ~ Afarin D.

I thought I would try and tell the story of the trip. Admittedly,  I am not the most fantastic storyteller, but even if I was a “Carlson” (CO style shout out) I don’t think I would do these 48 hours justice. I will try to explain a bit, include a sound bite here and there, but I think everything can be summed up in one word – “huh?”

The thing that makes this trip is it was very last min. We were meant to drive up to Berkeley and go to the UCLA v Cal game…a game where our Bruins ended up getting completely slaughtered.  But a few things fell apart, and my friend Kathryn had passed along a post that featured Bell Street Farm (thank you KT!)… I mean is there really a bad mini-holiday where the starting point is centered around food? The answer is “nay”.

Oct 6

Start with a drive through Santa Barbara. Two breakfasts weren’t planned, but the first place was actually…well it was just gross (from food to decor to my beer in a warm glass …but Afarin’s breakfie took a lovely picture so I included it…I feel bad if they google their name…it rhymes with Fupelo Function…avoid)  so obviously we had to find another place…but lets be real – first and second meal is pretty much a thing anyway. Between first and second breakfast we came across a  sloppy monkey, a mayor, a proclamation and some of the…most interesting…interactive dancing I have seen…they were all together, and in front of a Marshalls…there are no words. Pretty much the perfect start to our trip. Oh, side note – Afarin cried when we saw Hilary Duff at first breakfast (which made eating at grody worth it)…and then there was second breakfast at Blue Owl which made everything in my tum ok again….so – turns out I really am going to try and explain the day…
los alamos weekend-003Blue Owl – I am pretty sure I am going to diy my own Frida/Lyla picture. amazing.

los alamos weekend

So back in the car, heading over the mountain to Los Alamos,  we came across a janky sign that was haphazardly placed on the side of the road that said in child’s handwriting – “Pow Wow – 1.3 miles”  (q: why 1.3? a: does not matter.) – clearly a stop we had to make.

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los alamos weekend-001

no one has ever hated Afarin as much as the man on the right

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Red Elk hates pants. He would love M1s open pantless policy.

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This was actually completely incredible. Respect pow wow. And obviously we were sure this was going to be the highlight, at least of the day…and then there was Emilio…but that is for later…and not in picture…

The Union Hotel was just fitting. We stayed in the “Say Say Say” room where Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney filmed their music video (here).

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Then it was on to wine tasting…I don’t have many pictures from wine tasting…at all…so how do I explain…ok, so, Emilio Estevez……..I can’t. I wont do it justice. In one sentence – Emilio Estevez and his lovely girlfriend who couldn’t have been more wonderful asked us to stay, but we were hungry so Emilio offered Afarin his leftovers…I’m getting in too deep. Let me try again – Afarin asked Emilio to “quack, quack, quack”. There. Done. Obviously per a dare thrown down by Libby via text. We promptly left…lord I hope he doesn’t google alert his own name…if so, may I just say Mr. Estevez : I am sorry. You were incredibly cool. High-fives to your girlfriend.

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Then a walk over to Flatbread. Amazing.

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We then concluded the night with some shuffleboard.

Oct 7

Literally floor to ceiling wallpaper. Because, why not?

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Los Alamos is pretty much a one road town with little going through. And we kind of loved it. I can’t place why….but I think she may be getting sick of me taking pictures of her in the middle of the street…I am just super intuitive…Union Hotel to the left.


First and Second Breakfast. With some shuffleboard between in a bar that wasn’t yet open for the day. Fitting.

los alamos weekend-002

Bell Street Farm was adorable, delicious and completely worth the trip. We also saw a shall not be named director there and his group of friends that I met in New Orleans almost a year and a half ago: Just. Random. Enough.

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los alamos weekend-004

It was then ciao to Los Alamos.

Neither of us had really spent time in Solvang, and visiting a random Danish town in the middle of California only seemed right…and then we saw the ostriches outside of the city…needless to say, after this random stop Solvang lost its luster and we just drove through.

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Ostrich photo bomb! So sneaky.

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she makes friends everywhere we go

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What I learned – I am terrified of ostriches.

I mean. Honestly. Amazing mini-holiday.


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to nyr v. may ~ nashville


Nashville, TN

Nashville obsessed with my KT.

at lax friday night/saturday morning waiting for my redeye to minneapolis (iPhone).

first Nashville stop – Swetts for fried chicken and others.


boots – check

hatch show print. amaze.

a little thunder/lightning for a few – adore

beer-live music-check list review.

bridge fix.

getting festive (iPhone).

habanero mac + cheese at mad donna’s in east nashville.  perfect meal + seeing my first ever firefly + perfect company.

family wash. in love with sergio of john+sergio.

Sunday – marche artisan foods. seriously in love with east nashville. and nashville.

i have a bridge thing. so we drove outside of the city just to see this one. i could do an entire post on it alone…i wont…but I could…Birdsong Hollow and Highway 96 Double-Arched Bridge on the Natchez Trace.

Kathryn went to Duke. This is what Duke students eat. She was pretty excited. It was pretty delish. Fried chicken day two – check.

bluebird cafe.

the men’s room at the hermitage hotel that our darling doorman showed us. its famous for a ton of reasons, none of which I can remember right now.

Patterson House cocktails.

Monday – Third Man Records.

Robert’s Western World. Since it was 12:30 on a Monday afternoon we received special attention. one of our many highlights.

the last fried chicken place we wanted to try was Prince’s. So it was of course closed. so we decided to go back to Swett’s…it was a good choice for more reasons than just the food (iPhone).


“new and gently used books” at Bookman. heaven.

rainbows to see us off. super sad to go.

we honestly fell in love with this city and there is so much more not here, including line dancing (kind of killed it),  eats, music, sites and the zipper. compound plans for sure.


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to union station – happy happy


Downtown Los Angeles

Union Station

my favorite afarin let me know on a friday afternoon that it was Union Station’s 73rd birthday and that they were giving a free tour that evening. obviously we had to go. I love historic los angeles. love it. we learned more than we ever wanted to know about the station’s torrid past…I dont think I have ever heard the word “opium” that much in a 45 min period before. there was also some historic society taking the tour as well and they were all dressed in 1920s-1940s wears. obsessed. tons of furs and fedora’s and we couldn’t get enough.

the light before sunset was unreal

afarin sized

and Pete’s for dinner…we love Pete’s…

Happy Birthday Union Station


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to nyr v. april ~ carrizo plain

14&15 -april-2012

Carrizo Plain (with Montana de Oro on the side)

work, travel, visitors and finishing wedding photos (view here) have kept me busy. Not that all those things have kept me from my nyr or taking pictures…just from sharing…

I chose Carrizo Plains as my April nyr destination (there were meant to be more flowers…stupid dry spring. It was still lovely though) so my friend Kristal flew down from San Francisco to join Lyla and I. She was a great sport about a few things- no running water, limited facilities, lyla sitting on her lap half the drive b.c she didnt like the windy roads, our gps getting us lost…several times (adventure?) and me almost wrecking us while I drove/took pictures. yes, she is pretty much the best.

we hiked, took in every kind of weather possible (snow, wind, rain, temps in the 70s, blinding sunshine, fog, etc etc) chatted, took in the scenery, ate a lot, drank even more, played a lot of corn hole and a little jumbling tower (jenga and jumbling are not created equal…pay the extra few dollars for jenga…), and determined which of our fellow campers were clearly crazy, and which were just unassumingly insane. On our way home we took the long way and cut over to San Lois Obispo and lunched on the beach at Montana de Oro…it was gorgeous…

orange cakes & dinner

goat cheese, honey, bread, basil and lyla

Montana de Oro

thank you monks


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to another couple of hours in Chicago

Chicago, IL


I traveled to Chicago last weekend for work. I knew we were staying about 45 min outside of the city by train, so I took a vacation day the Thursday before our conference started to get in and enjoy, since I knew it would be nonstop after that.

Here is what about my visits to Chicago: This was my 4th visit and I have never spent a full 24 hours in the city. So I bits & pieces it every time. (here is a post from a 2010 visit where I was in a wedding in Milwaukee. This one lasted a good 12 hours and was the best so far. other highlights from other trips: architectural boat tour, rooftop bars and Chicago dogs). So for this trip I decided I wanted to go to the aquarium and visit my fav Topshop if nothing else b.c it was still being built when I was there last May. I made it into Chicago by 4:15. I was back on the Blue Line by 9:00pm…so here is another 4 hours and 45 min in Chicago (not counting the 3 hours the next night out with friends in Wrigleyville…that was fun and *almost* photo free…)

It was a gorgeous day, wonderful for walking…walking a lot, meeting up with friends and trying on too many clothes that I couldnt take home with me.

Shedd Aquarium Jellies

Shedd Aquarium Belugas

Shedd Aquarium Extras

I walked from the Aquarium (in picture) to Navy pier, met with a friend, where we walked around…a lot

City Stuff

Final stop. So here is the thing…for some reason its MUCH easier spending 30 pounds in London at Topshop than it is spending 68 dollars…weird…but it was fun. real fun.

sketchy walk and then slightly less sketchy ride back on the Blue Line

we had a moment

and hours and nights and no sleep later…back at lax on the 25th

Chicago I hope we meet again


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to a winter of breakfasts

Winter 2012

Hermosa Beach (+), CA

Tonight is the last evening of winter. Goodbye unusually warm weather, you are welcome in the South Bay anytime.

So last Summer I decided to become comfortable with my grill. Then in the Fall I thought it would be nice to make friends with an oven for the first time. Then Winter hit. What to do for winter… I thought I might try a different recipe out of a few of the cookbooks I have and love, but that the convenience of Pinterest has kept me from.  I found the first egg dish in one of those and thought it would be fun to try for a brunch with my friend Hollie. While I made the eggs with tomatoes, Hollie made a savory French toast that was amazing…………I should backup just a bit: I hate breakfast……ok I don’t actually “hate” hate breakfast, but I am for sure the annoying friend you roll your eyes that asks the hostess at a restaurant if they are serving lunch while the sun is still rising in the east. I love a good eggs benedict and huevos rancheros, but Ill be totally honest, if I have the option to order a carne asada burrito with extra scorcho salsa, guacamole and sour cream (love my dipping sauces)  I am going that way for sure. So back to Hollie’s French toast- it was delish, savory and basically I fell in love. And then the little (real small) light went on: physical challenge- spend the winter using traditional breakfast foods to make meals I love.  So I ditched the cookbooks (sorry cookbooks…someday…)and went back to the Pinterest. And may I say: best foodie winter ever. The more I cooked, the more I wanted to try, which explains why this is such a beast of a post.

But before you go on, please do not worry too much about my heart. Like, the actual organ. I obviously took “health” into little to no consideration (which would explain my poor scale groaning every time I stepped on the past few months), and will not be eating like this moving forward….maybe…

Asiago & herb French toast and Eggs with Tomatoes (The Silver Spoon, pg.431). 2-jan-2012. The french toast I gushed about courtesy of Hollie at her home in Redondo Beach. Delish. And then there were my eggs. They were pretty good too.

Shakshuka & Grilled Avocados. 6-jan-2012. My friend Afarin (she is such a staple lately) let me know all about this when I was trying to describe what I wanted to accomplish this winter. Bless you Afarin.

Eggs Pontaillac + Tomato Sauce (I Know How to Cook, pg.151 & 57). 16-jan-2012. This was a breakfast Libby and I had when we went to Joshua Tree. I prepared the tomato sauce the night before we went and then we indulged on the morning before we headed home. SUCH good camp food. Easy and tasty. Just the way I like it.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Sweet Potato Waffles. 29-jan-2012- perp. 30-jan-2012- feast. This was amazing. I had my grandmother and company help (watched) me breakdown my first ever (and second) chicken the evening of the 29th and then I took the pieces from both chickens home and made the marinade and let the chicken sit overnight. I smelt amazing. On the 30th friends and roommates feasted on the fried chicken and homemade sweet potato waffles. Making again for sure.

Spaghetti Squash with Alfredo Sauce & Bacon. 13-feb-2012. Ok I know this is an enormous stretch. But I saw it and had to have it, so I substituted out the shrimp for bacon and voila: breakfast for dinner!…maybe?

Valentine’s Day Eggs in a Basket & Bacon stuffed avocado. 14-feb-2012. My cousin had lived with me for over a week on Valentine’s day and I wanted to do a little something something for her, so I got up nice and early and made these heart shaped eggs in a basket and bacon stuffed avocado. Such a good way to tell my belly I love it forever and ever.

Egg whites with Avocado Toast. 18-feb-2012. It was my cousin Ashley’s birthday and we wanted to make her some brunch…and start her off with some champie. My roommate and I love this dish from the Gum Tree in our neighborhood and tried to recreate it. Super easy and real good. The red pepper flakes on top were key.

Lexie’s “Lulu’s BLT & E”. 26-feb-2012. I went to Sheridan, WY for a few days, and while there one of the only requests I had of my dear Lexie was to go to Lulu’s for the BLT & E. Easy, done, no big thing…that was until it closed literally 4 days before I got there for good. Tears. But Lexie, as usual, took care of me, found out the recipe for the rub, guessed the measurements and made me a BLT&E that was totally Lulu’s worthy if not better. Again, best hostess ever.

 Pizza with a Sunny-Side-Up Egg and Herb Garden Pesto & Avocado and Grilled Corn Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette. 29-feb-2012. This may have been tied for best ever for the winter…and also, again, probably a stretch. But there is an egg on there, and I make the winter rules. And add it to Hollie’s amazing, delish, cant get enough salad; heaven.

Avocado Eggs Benedict with Chipotle Hollandaise Sauce. Enough said. Except for maybe, “YUM”. 7-march-2012.

Breakfast Tortilla and easy oven baked potatoes 13-march-2012. I happened to have everything for this and made it last min for my cousin and I. I substituted the tortilla for flatbread…so I guess the title doesn’t really work does it…and the sausage for bacon…because bacon is always better…except when its not…this was SO simple, and SO tasty…and has the potential to be healthy-ish if I omitted the bacon…but why would I ever do that? Stupid.

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls & Bacon Cupcakes & Jeni’s amazing grilled cheese (bacon, cheese, and apple slices). 14-march-2012. My friends Afarin, Jeni and David came over for a little bacon intense dinner. Afarin was in charge of the pulls (amazing), Jeni, the grilled cheese, which were SO good, and yet I did not get one good picture of them being prepared (sorry Jeni), I  was in charge of the bacon cupcakes and David the beer and, turns out, dish cleaning.

Baked Egg Boat. 15-march-2012. excessive yet?…there was just so much I wanted to try and was running out of time. This was one of those things. And if I had to choose only three to ever cook again, this would hands down be one of them. Super easy, and so good. The egg just soaked into the bread (which had garlic in it) and made it so soft. It was great the next morning at work as well.

Country Style Eggs Benedict (green chili and cheese biscuits and gravy). 18-march-2012. Ok here is where your heart should really start to tighten. But wow. I mean wow. So back story- I actaully really like biscuits and gravy, but not enough to order that over eggs benedict or huevos rancheros. Also, usually there is someone I am eating out with that orders it and lets me have a nibble or five, so I never bother getting it myself. I didn’t think I would make it this winter, but then I found THIS. “OMG” worthy. And stomach ache provoking (the good kind…yes, there is a good kind). I mean, its my benedict with my gravy and fried chicken (well I did boneless, skinless chicken rather than steak…totally health conscious). Lord.

Like I said, I am not cooking like this on such a regular basis moving forward. Spring is actually dedicated to what I anticipate being the most difficult challenge so far- healthy foods that don’t make me roll my eyes…after I finish my gravy, biscuits and fried chicken leftovers…obviously…


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