Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Patching (Adults Only)

I love pumpkin patching.  I look forward to it every single year.  But the thing is, I'm not big on kids (I know, I know, I'm a terrible person and all that).  I just can't help it -- jam hands make my blood pressure rise and baby talk confuses me.  So finding a pumpkin patch in L.A. with minimal kid-exposure was a priority and, as expected, a struggle.  And I failed.

Upon arriving at Tanaka Farms in Irvine, we were immediately ushered into a parking lot swarming with minivans and strollers.  There were diaper bags and kid leashes.  Everyone's name was "Mommy."  Things were getting real.

We could have just turned around and admitted our defeat.  But on behalf of all young, childless married people who want to enjoy some harvest fun sans strollers and jam-hands, we stood our ground.  We were going to pumpkin patch and we were going to like it.  But how?  Well, what do you do when life gets a little too G-rated?  Spike it, of course.

A Guide to Pumpkin Patching for the Childless

1. If you've already parked your car when you realize you're the only ones in the parking lot not wrestling with a car seat or a stroller, get back in the car.

2. Drive to the nearest liquor store and purchase a seasonal spirit (we chose hard cider).

3. Go to Starbucks and get some Venti-sized cups.  Fill with previously purchased spirits and cover with lid.

4.  Return to pumpkin patch, cups in hand.  No one will suspect a thing.

{that coffee has legs!}

5. Survey your surroundings as you get going on your "coffee."

6. Engage in horseplay.


7. Drain those cups and get serious about your portraiture.

8. When your happy harvest-alcohol haze starts wearing off, hurry up and pick a pumpkin and get outta there before you're back to square one.

Guaranteed fun.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Silverlake Stair-Climb

When I lived in Berkeley, Leslie (a friend from law school) and I were neighbors and we used to take hikes together sometimes up in the hills above campus.  The Berkeley hills are spotted with secret staircases that wind between the houses and I used to love discovering a new staircase and a beautiful view.  Leslie lives in Silverlake now, and I went out to visit her on Saturday and we planned a staircase hike up in the Silverlake hills, just like in the old days.  It was a gorgeous, sunny walk with some really cool houses (and some random Moorish ones...unclear) and beautiful gardens along the way.

I loved all the cactus gardens!  Before moving down here, I never thought cacti could be so beautiful.  I'm now a cacti convert.

And the Azeleas!  The hedges were out of control.  It really was just like the Berkeley hills, where gardens are more like jungles and every surface is covered in climbing vines.

And the best part of a stair-climb is, of course, the view.

And then we came back to Leslie's apartment and had a glass of wine on her porch while we watched the sun sink behind the skyline.

And then there was the part where we made this cake from the Pioneer Woman (remember when I raved about her recipes?), and accidentally caused her oven to erupt in flames and her apartment to fill with smoke....In any case, the cake was delish!  Too bad the firemen didn't want to stay for a slice.  I can't imagine why not.

Monday, October 24, 2011

L.A. Faves

{for what it's worth}

It's getting fancy over here at Newly!  If you take a peek up at the top of the page, you'll see that there's a shiny new tab sitting there, just waiting to be clicked!  The (quite straight-forwardly titled) "L.A. Faves" tab has now joined party.

Yep, that's right, another list.  It was necessary, I swear.  You see, I've been thinking about how I haven't written many restaurant posts lately, and to be honest, it's because not every restaurant inspires a post.  Some restaurants stand out to me so much that I just want to tell everyone about how wonderful they are (like this one and this one).  The same is true for when I don't have a great experience, like my first time at Oscar's (but of course, I'll tell you if I change my mind).  But other times, I have a completely enjoyable experience yet I just don't feel like a full post is necessary.  At the same time, I'd like to continue collecting a list of my favorite spots, as much for me as for all of you.  Having a list to keep up and posts to write holds me to my self-promise that I would really get out and see this city and take advantage of what it has to offer, and it also (hopefully) gives some of you an idea of where to go if you live in L.A. or come to visit.

So the solution, of course, was another list (when is another list not a solution in life?).  This weekend, I made a list of all my favorite spots, organized them by occasion, and gave it it's very own "L.A. Faves" page.  Now, you can click on that tab any time and see what I'm loving at the moment, and I'll still write an occasional post when I find a place that I just can't keep to myself.  Convenient, no?  (Side note: I realize that right now, most of the places are on the West side because I'm still in the process of eating my way around this city, but I'll keep updating both my L.A. List and my L.A. Faves as I go, promise).  Now, I know I'm no culinary expert, but I'm always so happy to get a recommendation for a new place in this giant city, so I'm hoping that my recommendations (whatever they're worth) will help you out, too!

And as always, if you have any tips for me of new places to try out, please please share!!!  Now go check out my faves!

A Pumpkin Carving

The necessaries: pumpkin, carver, warm cider.

The options:

The choice:

The first cut:

The sketch: 

The finished product:

The final touch:



The after-party:
{olive oil, seasoned salt, chipotle powder, and cumin -- baked at 400 for 15 minutes...YUM}

Instant harvest spirit.

P.S. Come back later this week for some pics from our PG13 pumpkin patching experience!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Oh Hey!

Remember me?  I used to blog the daily...we used to talk?  Yeah.  I kind of dropped the ball on that this week.  I'm sorry, pleasedon'thateme.  The thing is, blogging is hard to keep up in the real working world.  Obviously, it's hard to be here every day when my daylight is filled to the brim with work to-do's (quite a change from my recent life hiatus).  But what's more is that it's harder for me to be producing good substance here when suddenly, so much of my internal dialogue is wrapped up in work things, and work things are things I can't share with you, because, you know, what we do is secret.  (Plus, you don't really want to know.)  So it's going to take some adjustments (*ahem* planning posts in advance *ahem*), but I'm hoping that you'll stick with me and still stop by to chat, even if it's only once or twice a week instead of everyday.

Anyhoo, one work-thing that I can talk to you about is how to decorate my office.  Seriously, I'm concerned.  Some of the other attorneys have set the bar high.  First of all, they all have plants.  Real ones.  Alive ones.  Do I have to have a plant?  I can't seem to keep basil thyme orchids any living thing alive.  I will never be able to be an office-plant-parent.  I've already failed.

Secondly, people in my office have some legit interior design skillz.  I'm not talking about offices with some framed college dorm-room posters.  I'm talking artsy frame walls, "Keep Calm and Carry On" prints, and trendy tree-branch lamps.  Office decor that has character; that says something about a person.  I've got to step up my game.  This is what I've got:

1. I need a lamp, a trendy lamp (Homegoods, anyone?).  Everyone has a lamp.  But definitely no plant.  No, I'll just kill it and then everyone will know that I am the least nurturing human being on the planet.  No one wants to work with a plant-killer.

2. I should put some framed pictures of people I love on my desk.  That's what people do, right?  But work people always have these pictures that are cute, but not too cute.  Everyone looks like they're having a pretty dandy time, but with a 2-drink limit.  No open-mouth laughs allowed.  No candids.  Dress code enforced.  You know the ones.  And then there's the directional issue -- which way are they supposed to face?  Should I be looking at them?  Or should they face the people who come into my office?  It's all very unclear.

3. As for the walls, I should probably make some selections from my own photo library to matte and frame because it's cheap, and they'll remind me in my moments of work-induced despair that I'm capable of making pretty things sometimes.  But they need to be relaxing pictures.  Like grays and neutrals.  Not pictures that jump off the walls, or that are too distracting, or that remind me that I could be on a beach somewhere instead of in my office, but also not pictures that make me want to sleep.  Because when I work, I want to be zen, but not too zen, right?  And they can't be too artsy because I'm supposed to be a lawyer and all that.  So here's what I like:

 {ok, this one is totally not "neutral" but I like it}

And then there are these other ones from Turkey that totally don't match the others...but I like them, too.

Which 5 of these do I want to look at all day, everyday?

4. In the likely scenario that I never have the time to check off the "print and frame work pictures" item off my sticky-notes to-do list, I could always get one of these posters and hope that people mistake me for hipster.  Or funny.

What's your office decor like?  Got any tips for this newbie?

Oh, and a Happy Weekend to you!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hello, BigLaw

It's finally here - the very first day of my very first real job!

{do I look like an almost-wannabe-oh-please-let-me-be-a lawyer?}

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy Last Friday Before My First Day of Work!

{fall in Berkeley}

What are your plans for the weekend, my friends?  I've got pumpkin patching, another try at surfing, a dinner with new friends, and a brunch with old friends on my weekend menu.  And I've got a Vogue magazine to attend to.  It's shaping up to be the most perfect weekend-before-I-start-work I could imagine!

I hope you all have fabulous weekends, and I'll see you back here Monday for The First Day of My Career!

P.S. My favorite web reads of the week: All the Single Ladies, and A Letter to the Occupiers (you might have already read these, but just in case!)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Weekend with the 'Rents

Having my parents here the last two days was such a treat.  We ate, we drank, we strolled, and we did absolutely nothing.  Just the way it should be when your parents come to visit!

 {so much fog on our morning walk}


{brunch at Gladstone's in Malibu} 

Love you guys!