I’ve Had The Time Of My Life Fighting Dragons With Taylor Swift

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There’s certain people in life who understand you before they even know you. Their energy, their laugh, the way their pieces fit so perfectly into yours even through you lived your whole life without them. You can think of them, can’t you? Who are the people who you know you’re in this for life with?

Taylor Swift is one of those people for me. 

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She opened up her Reputation World Tour in Glendale, Arizona two nights ago and I figured there is no better time than now to tell you why she’s my #1.

I flew to Los Angeles to see Taylor in concert for her Speak Now tour because she wasn’t playing in my area. My sister was going to UCLA so I stayed with her and she picked me up from the airport. For the concert, I was (obviously) dressed up in full costume (specifically as a Hershey Kiss as a pun on her song “The Last Kiss”) because her team goes around the audience every single night and picks people for a post-show meet & greet. I went by myself because all I really wanted was to be in the room, I didn’t care if I was sitting next to anybody or not.

During the middle of the show, there’s a moment when Taylor walks through the audience from the front to the back, giving out hugs to fans as she makes her way to the back stage. I was in the front row of the first level, so Taylor logistically would pass right by me. When Taylor walked by, she sadly passed by me and made her way to the next group of people, but then five seconds later, she turns around and looks at me, runs back, looks me in the eyes and says “I love you so much. Thank you for coming.” before running back up to finish her route.

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That moment is why I support Taylor through the thick and the thin.

That moment is why no matter the years or the miles, Taylor is always worth the wait and the trip.

That moment is why Taylor is one of the most successful musicians of this generation.

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Taylor, I’m so proud of you and so excited to see you in Pasadena next week at the Rose Bowl!

My Current Reading List

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There was a point in my life when I wanted to write a book. A fiction (young adult) novel about a girl who moved to New York. I started writing it and got about one page in. And that was the end of my aspirations to become an author. I think books are so fascinating and authors are gifted with the incredible ability to connect with people all over the world in different ways. If you want to be a great writer, you have to know how to tap into emotions that can’t be said out loud.

My reading list lately has consisted of the Netflix home page, where I scroll to the ‘Continue Watching’ section and select Friends or Chef’s Table, which I’ve seen every episode of at least three times already.

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I’m going to do my best to be intentional about reading the following list of books in the coming months. I really need some sort of book intervention where all of my friends come over and force me to sit in a room and have uninterrupted reading time. Ya know?

  1. Little Fires Everywhere: I’ve heard so much about this book. It’s based in Ohio, which is where my brother lives. One of my favorite food bloggers did a book club about it as well. Buy it here
  2. The Great Alone: This book is based in Alaska, which is what draws me to it. If you’ve read it, please let me know what you thought! Buy it here
  3. Drums Of Autumn: This is by the same author as Outlander, so it’s basically pre-approved. Buy it here
  4. We Are Never Meeting In Real Life: David Sedaris is one of my favorite authors. His way of writing about his own life both thrills and engrosses you, and he has made personal essays one of my favorite types of books. Now that I’ve talked up his skills, I should probably let you know that this collection of essays isn’t by David, but it’s by an author named Samantha Irby. But regardless, I’m excited to read it. Buy it here
  5. By Gaslight: Victorian London is one of my favorite eras to read about, mainly because I love London so much that any book or movie or television show set there is immediately on my “must read” list. By Gaslight is a historical fiction mystery novel set in Victorian London that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Buy it here

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What book(s) are you reading right now?

My Goals For The Year

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It finally feels like the year is slowing down and I couldn’t be more excited about it. It also feels like summer-time here in California and I also couldn’t be more excited about it. The first three months of this year sped so fast that I couldn’t even drink enough coffee for me to remember anything that happened. Which is why I’m four months late sharing my goals for the year. I never really make specific New Year’s Resolutions like going to the gym every day or cutting out all sugar, because I know those are 100% not going to be kept. (I’m probably the only person in America who actually cancelled their gym membership in January.) Like I said, my life (aka my job) was super busy starting out the year and I really didn’t have time to workout.

WHAT I’M WEARING:

Anthropologie Striped Eyelet Romper | Sam Edelman Sandals (old): Similar here & here | Milk Blur Liquid Matte Foundation (Shade Light) | LUSH Honey Trap Lip Balm

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So without further ado, here’s my goals for the year:

  1. Use My Scuba Diving Certification – I got scuba certified right after I graduated high school, and I have used it about four times since then. I really want to start putting it to practice more, since scuba diving is one of my favorite things in the whole world. When you’re underwater, literally nothing else matters but you and the fish!
  2. Travel On The Weekends – Traveling is always on my list, but I specifically want to travel more on weekends this year because I can’t always take a week off of work when it gets busy. There’s so many cute towns that are driving distance from Los Angeles that I want to explore!
  3. Read More – Anybody else have this on their list every single year and then never do it? I just found a new podcast called Young Adulting by the blogger over at The Stripe, and she and the cohost Becca have so many great book recommendations that I’ve added to my list!
  4. Learn To Cook Better – I only learned to cook two or three years ago, so I’m still a newbie! I love it and I love how there’s is always something new to learn about cooking. I really want to take classes (either online or in person) this year.
  5. Relax – RELAX. I JUST WANT TO RELAX MORE. Hold me to that, okay?

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What were your goals for the year? Have you been keeping up with them?

Behind The Bar: Tequila Sunrise + Product Review

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It is only April and it is basically already Summer here in Southern California. According to the person in front of me in line for eggs at the Farmer’s Market this morning, this weather means we are in for a brutal summer in Southern California. People are fervently dusting off their shorts and sandals to head to the beach and regretting that six pack of beer they drank last night.

Hot weather means cold beverages are pretty much a body part on Saturdays (at least in my house), and Tequila Sunrises are at the very front of the pack because they’re made with fresh orange juice and they are SO easy to make it’s slightly worrisome. I’m hosting a brunch for my friends soon and this is definitely on the menu.

In today’s post, I’m sharing a Tequila Sunrise recipe & reviewing my Williams Sonoma Dual Citrus Juicer!

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Tequila is such an underrated alcohol. It is associated with getting hammered at a college sports bar and nothing makes me more upset. I am literally the last person you will ever find doing a tequila shot (seriously, once I slammed my finger in a door at a Mexican restaurant and they tried to give me a shot and I told them to put it in a margarita) and I love tequila. Tequila is my favorite alcohol because when you pair it with citrus, it transforms from the ugly duckling into beautiful swan. CAN WE ALL AGREE ON THIS?!? OKAY GREAT.

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Ingredients

1.5 Oz Tequila

Ice

4 Oz Orange Juice

A couple splashes grenadine syrup

Directions

– Add ice to glass

– Add tequila & orange juice to glass

– Stir with spoon

– Drizzle grenadine syrup on top

Product Review: Williams Sonoma Dual Citrus Juicer

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I used the Williams Sonoma Dual Citrus Juicer for this drink, and it only took me five minutes to get 2 cups of juice.

Overall: I love it. I would highly suggest for a budget friendly juicer that gets the job done! The measurements on the side are also super handy if you’re following a recipe that requires a specific amount.

Cleaning: Easy to clean, dishwasher safe, the whole shebang!

Thing To Note: It doesn’t filter out the pulp! If you don’t love pulp, then I would not recommend this product.

How It Would Be Better: I wish it had a lid once you finish juicing so I can just pop the lid on and put it in the fridge! Not a major pain because I just transfer it to another container to store.

Easy Like Saturday Morning

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Photo by Nick Hillier on Unsplash

Was this a long a** week for anyone else? Yeah? Okay cool. My job is a mad house lately (so much to do all the time) so I’m grateful for slow and steady Saturday mornings with a cup of coffee in hand and the corner spot at a coffee shop.

It’s a three-day weekend (HALLELUUUUUUUAH!!!!) and I’m excited to have two days of productivity and then head to Santa Barbara on Monday. It’s one of my favorite towns and my best friend grew up there so she’s shown me all the best spots that I visit every time I go. French Press coffee? Yep. McConnell’s ice cream? Yes please. Hendry’s Beach? Absolutely. So excited.

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Anyways, let’s’ get into a roundup of what happened this week:

I made these Tried And True Chocolate Chip Cookies for a church event and HOLY COW THEY ARE DELICIOUS (and so easy).

The Ready Player One trailer came out this week and it’s so flipping good. I can’t WAIT to see it 😍

These Velvet Overalls from Madewell are making my heart skip a beat. I repeat, VELVET OVERALLS. Can you think of anything more comfortable?

My friend Brittany’s birthday party is this weekend and she’s having brunch in the park. I’m planning to make Joy The Baker’s King Arthur Flour Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls.

The next book on my list is Crazy Rich Asians.

My skin has been SO dry. I’m on the market for a new face moisturizer, but in the meantime I love this Soap & Glory hand cream.

I got a popsocket this week and I feel like I’ve crossed the bridge to being a Millennial. I finally have my stripes. Thank you all for your support.

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Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

What have you been up to this week? Hope you all have a great weekend! ❤

 

I Left My Heart In London

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There’s some cities that just pull you in. You put your airplane seat in the upright position for landing, your pilot gives a speech about the current weather conditions, and a euphoria engulfs you. You find a magnetism to everyday things and an excitement that makes you want to stay out until  2am every night and start apartment hunting without even have been there a week.

For me, it’s London.

London has a heartbeat that so visibly declares itself as soon as you step foot outside of Heathrow Airport. The extravagant houses you walk past to get to Primrose Hill. The  smells and sounds at Borough Market. The hum of the Tube on a weekday morning. The buzz of a pub on a weekday night after work.

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There’s so much to see, so much to eat, so many people to write home about.

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This is Tower Bridge. It’s literally a bridge. That’s also a tower. It’s my favorite place in London and I used to take the Tube here just to walk across it and stare out at the Thames. 

I studied abroad there in college and it was the single most exhilarating part of my college experience. Every day was a new adventure, and every neighborhood I explored was better than the last. Whenever anybody asks my favorite city or the place I would live if I could, it’s always London. It will always be London.

I interned at a talent agency whose office was a itty-bitty studio apartment (if that) above a cheese shop. I loved it.

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Okay, now that I’ve successfully talked your ear off about London, here’s a round-up of my favorite London goods:

I’d Rather Be In London Shirt: I would rather be in London.

London Print: I’m currently trying to get wall art for my living room because every time anybody comes over they ask me why my walls are blank. And I tell them it’s because I haven’t put any pictures up. It’s really a thrilling conversation every time. Anyways, I want to have artwork of London above my couch and this is a cute print.

A Street Cat Named Bob: OKAY LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHEN I STUDIED ABROAD IN LONDON I WOULD WALK PAST THIS GUY AND HIS CAT EVERY SINGLE DAY. THEY HAD A SPOT RIGHT NEXT TO URBAN OUTFITTERS IN COVENT GARDEN AND HE WOULD SIT THERE AND PLAY GUITAR WITH HIS CAT EITHER IN HIS GUITAR CASE OR ON HIS SHOULDERS AND I JUST WALKED PAST EVERY DAY NOT THINKING MUCH OF ANYTHING AND THEN ONE DAY I WAS IN A BOOKSTORE AND I SAW A PICTURE OF THE CAT ON A BOOK AND MY MIND EXPLODED. AND APPARENTLY NOW THEY MADE A MOVIE ABOUT THIS CAT TOO AND I FREAK OUT EVERY TIME I REMEMBER THIS CAT. OKAY? OKAY.

London On The Rocks: This is cute, right?

London Tapestry: I kinda want to buy this for above my bed.

London Is Always A Good Idea Mug: Okay this is definitely cute.

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Have you ever been to London? What’s your favorite city? Let me know!

Super Bowl Appetizer Round Up

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I don’t watch sports. I don’t know what a field goal is. (I’m guessing it’s a touch down?) I don’t know what all the players do. I don’t know how scoring works. But do you know what I do know? HOW TO MAKE A BOMB ASS SPINACH DIP WITH SOME HOMEMADE TORTILLA CHIPS.

I’m only interested in the Super Bowl for the snacks.

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So today I will be rounding up the best appetizer recipes from around the interwebs. So that you can dance around your kitchen with a glass of rosé in one hand and a spatula in the other hand. It’s the only way to cook, really! Enjoy:

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas: This recipe takes a normal quesadilla dish and gives it a kick in the loins. That’s a weird way to describe a quesadilla, I’m sorry. But this dish looks b-o-m-b.

Roasted Chili Pepper Guacamole: There’s a certain rule around these parts. We trust Gaby. Anything Gaby makes, we trust it and we make it. Especially when it has to do with guacamole….

Sourdough Pretzels and Beer Cheddar Sauce: Joy is one of those bloggers whose recipes I trust without even reading them. I know she wouldn’t let me down. I’ve been wanting to make pretzels with beer cheese for so long you have no idea. I’m trying to figure out which of my friends would want to come over for a pretzel and beer cheese party.

7 Layer Dip – This is a personal essay about seven layer dip which really speaks to me on a very deep level. We all should aspire to be this passionate about beans.

Charred Corn and Poblano Pepper Queso Fundido: Anything with the word Fundido in it and I’m sold. It just sounds Fun, you know? This is a super simple recipe that will make sure no chip gets left behind.

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Spinach Dip With Homemade Tortilla Chips: This is the recipe in the pictures. Honestly I had no idea making tortilla chips was so easy. But now I know, and will be making them on frequent rotation. I love Gaby’s recipes because she makes it so easy. This dip took zero skill – just basically a pot and some spinach.

Pull Apart Pigs In A Blanket: Can you even believe this???!? A Pigs-In-A-Blanket PIZZA??????!?? I am losing my mind.

Peanut Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies: A party without cookies is just a meeting. Literally I would honestly prefer if there were cookies at every get-together ever. They’re just a stable, ya know. I am the friend who brings homemade cookies to the trivia bar. That’s just me.

Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole: I’m gonna give you a second to read that name one more time. Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole. What even is that? I’m glad you asked… It is HEAVEN. I can’t even look at the recipe without salivating.

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What are you making tomorrow for the Super Bowl? Lemme know!

Easy Like Saturday Morning

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This Saturday morning’s usual plans were un-RSVP’d at the last minute because I had an appointment to get a haircut at 8am. I walked in and my stylist Abbie was fresh-faced and cheery, and I was wishing I was nurturing a warm cup of coffee with extra cream and sugar with a side of “still in bed”. But I didn’t fall asleep in the chair and my hair is now shorter and blonder and I now quite honestly don’t recognize myself in the mirror.

In other happenings, I volunteered at a charity auction for a homelessness organization last night and it was actually so fun. I’ve never worked an auction before but my friends Steven and Koko and I were on the ground floor spotting the bidders.

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ANYWAYS, ENOUGH WITH THE SMALL TALK, LET’S GET INTO THE ROUNDUP:

The hair queen Kristin Ess just released a TEMPORARY PINK HAIR TINT. For only $10. Can you even believe?!??? All her products are sold at Target so you better start running to your car.

This BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad is on the menu this week — I basically trust anything that Gaby makes.

Oh Joy just released a line of Calpack suitcases for travel and it’s lighting the flame under my travel bug, like woah. I have my eye on New York right now.

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the Larry Nassar case that was in trial this week. It sickens me that so many young women were exposed to him. I just hope that this brings them some sort of healing. I can’t even imagine.

I made these this week. Basically the result of me having no food in my kitchen except sweet potatoes and eggs.

I really want to make this soup. Liz made it on an Instagram Live last week and it looked so good. Making soup is also so therapeutic.

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Have a great weekend, friends!

Easy Like Saturday Morning

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Saturday morning is a very important time of the week for me. It’s when I decompress from the work week and do an assortment of things that make me calm and collected. Like go to the Farmer’s Market. And browse Whole Foods (literally I do this, please don’t judge me). It’s my therapy, you could say. So, every Saturday morning I’m going to share a weekly update on what I’ve been reading, watching, cooking, and more. Because I think catching up on news and friends is what you’re supposed to do on Saturday mornings.

I’m writing this from one of my favorite coffee shops, Copa Vida. I ordered an Avocado Toast, which basically make me the most “LA” person ever, but I worked out this morning and if I didn’t eat afterwards I knew that my friends would give me lectures about eating right, so here we are with my avocado toast and latte. I repeat, I am the most LA person ever today.

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Let’s talk about my week:

I made this Chicken Noodle Soup and it was so easy I was shocked, honestly. So easy and so good.

I’m reading Everything Is Awful by Matt Bellassai and it’s amazing to say the least. If Matt isn’t one of your favorite people, then you need to re-evaluate your life and go binge-watch Whine About It immediately. Watch this one to get started and then report back with your findings.

Liz from Sequins And Stripes did an Instagram Live where she cooked her Mom’s soup recipe and all of a sudden I want to do weekly Instagram Live shows where I just cook.

I got a gift card for Macy’s for Christmas and I bought this Cuisinart blender because I didn’t have a blender and now I do and now I can make smoothies but I don’t really know how to make smoothies so please send me all your recipes.

My coworker Desirea told me about this pottery throwing studio in LA and I want to do it really bad. Their classes are a month long with one class a week. Also I would like to point out that my boss Kristina literally though Desirea meant throwing pottery against a wall hahahahaha

I also had a $50 gift card to Williams Sonoma to use so I BOUGHT THIS PIZZA STONE AND I VERY EXCITED TO HAVE PIZZA NIGHTS WITH ALL OF MY FRIENDS.

The Pasadena Half Marathon is tomorrow! I’m a proud resident of Pasadena and I’m hoping to get out in the city to watch.

For anyone who lives in LA, Carmela is having some ice cream making classes next month. They are at the Pasadena location, which is literally a mile from my house, and they are guaranteed to be so fun. I wish I could go!

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What are you up to this Saturday morning? I hope you have a restful weekend ahead, friends ❤

How To Host A Wine-Tasting Party

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My co-worker Melissa and I share an office. And a birthday. And a mutual love for pouring a glass of wine after work and slumping deep into the couch cushions to watch Netflix. We were destined to be birthday twins, truly.

We also have a lot of the same friends because we’ve worked at two of the same companies together now and have formed relationships with a lot of the same people. So when we were sitting there one Wednesday afternoon in our office trying to decide what each of us should do for our birthdays, we came to the conclusion to decide that we would host a joint birthday party together. A wine-tasting party. And after successfully hosting the party, I am now sharing the best tips to perfectly plan one for yourself.

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Set A Schedule: It’s a well-known fact that if you start a party at 7PM, nobody will arrive until 7:30 or 7:45 (at the earliest). And that’s being generous. Send out a tasting schedule beforehand to ensure everyone arrives on time; nobody will want to miss a second! We did hour-long tastings for each wine category, and it worked great. Once the hour was up, we brought out the next type of wine! However, I did morph into Cruella De Ville because my friend wanted to open a bottle of red wine at 5:30PM, and I told him that we were still in Rosé hour. The rules are strict, folks!

Have Everyone Bring A Bottle Of Wine To Share: Wine is not cheap, especially if you’re catering for 20 or more people! You’re already providing all of the food and appetizers and it might run you bankrupt to buy 15+ bottles of wine on top of that. Have your guests bring their favorite bottle of wine, and when they arrive they can fill out a card sharing what they love about it (tasting notes, how they discovered it, what it pairs well with, etc!)

Provide An Activity For The Guests: One thing I’ve learned after attending enough parties over the years is that if there’s no activity for guests to do, they will make one. And for a crowd in their mid-twenties, it will usually involve alcohol games. Melissa and I wanted to ensure that our guests would be properly entertained throughout the night. Conveniently, our party was the same night as the Golden Globes, so we streamed that during the party and everyone was glued to the screen and sipping away!

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Cheese Board: Truly, there are few things I love more than I love cheese boards. My family and I were in Italy this past Summer in a tiny town called Panicale, and we had a cheese board with literally every meal. It was glorious. Have a cheese board out for the whole night; each wine pairs well with different items on the board! Tip: Don’t put all the fixin’s out at once – leave a stash in your fridge so that you can refresh the board as the night goes on.

Have Appetizers As Well: A glass a wine in itself doesn’t have a ton of alcohol in it, but if your guests are refilling their glasses all night.. it adds up. Make sure you have real food in addition to your cheese plate so that your guests have some protein; a cheese board can only do so much! Melissa and I had Pigs In A Blanket, Flatbread, and a couple other appetizers that we got at Trader Joe’s.

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We had so much fun and it truly was a the best way to celebrate our birthdays with all of our friends around us. Here’s to full glasses, full lives, and lots of wine! Have you ever had a themed birthday party? Let me know in the comments!