Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

From my desk to yours.
(Yes, I already ate all the Halloween candy.  What of it?)
P.S.  Last Halloween (in my pre-job life), I went adult pumpkin patching, carved a witch pumpkin, and dressed up as America.

P.P.S.  I'm trying out the hair donut at work for the first time.  Fingers crossed I don't end up a pile of bobby pins by the end of the day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Winds are Back

{my mom, on a windy day in Paris}

Never have I felt winds like the Santa Anas.  They come out of nowhere, at full blast, like someone's spinning the Earth at twice its normal speed.

Just walking out of the office to get lunch is an ordeal.  The tall glass door to the building either swings open wildly or won't budge until I throw myself into it, shoulder first.  And then there's the problem of only having two hands.  One hand to stabilize my purse, one to grab my sweater, and there are none left to hold the hair out of my face.  Oh look, there's me, blindly hobbling out of the parking lot again.

On the night the winds came last year, I was sitting in my office, in a skyscraper made largely of glass, when the window pane next to my desk started literally shaking -- threatening to burst right out of its steel frame, right on top of my head.  I was so terrified I nearly ducked for cover!  Mind you, I had no idea at the time that the Santa Ana winds even existed.  I just assumed L.A. was immune to any natural forces -- I mean, that's why people move here, right?

And then I couldn't stop talking about them.  It was just outrageous to me that in this concrete, man-made, over-built place, where nature was hardly ever acknowledged, let alone a prominent part of life, these winds -- these hard-core, no-nonsense winds -- existed.  And not only did they exist, they were a totally accepted part of life.  As in, my co-worker's reaction to my microsoft communicator message reading: "WTF????!!! IT'S THE APOCALYPSE!!!" was "It's just the Santa Ana's."

Right.  Just the Santa Anas.  Just the CRAZIEST winds ever.

The winds started yesterday again, and even though it means my bangs will be completely out of order for the next couple days, I love these Santa Ana's.  I love them for their novelty, their unexpectedness, their guts.  They stare L.A. in its palm-tree-lined, 75-degree-with-0%-humidity face, and walk all over it.  They are the only natural force that dares step foot in this man-made paradise.

They are a reminder that even if we pave over the orange orchards, build bike paths on the sand, and skyscrapers in the hills, we are no match for Mother Nature.  She owns us.

Monday, October 22, 2012

SF {in instagrams}

Now that I am the owner of an iPhone 5 (thank you -- you are the 105th person to welcome me to the 21st century...), I may or may not be developing a bit of an instagram addiction.  And a VSCO addiction.  Ok maybe just a picture-taking addiction.  Not surprising.

Here are a few from our weekend in SF -- chock-full of food, friends, and reasons to celebrate!

{Of COURSE I closed my eyes in the only picture we took together.  But I still like it.}

From left to right:  (1) new fall boots!; (2) the most beautiful yellow roses; (3) bridal party food (spanikopita, of course); (4) a Canadian Thanksgiving feast with some good friends (one of whom is Canadian); (5) brunch with my ladies at Luna Park; (6) the Full House houses :); (7) happy in our city.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Yesterday was my 1-year work-a-versary, but I didn't have time to post about it because I was . . . working.  Typical.

Here I am, 366 days ago -- peppy, nervous, and eager to get to work.

I remember the butterflies, and I remember thinking I had finally gotten to the part of my life where all the prep work (namely, 7 years of higher education) would start paying off.  I had crossed the finish line!  And now it was time to be the person I had been preparing to become!

I was happy.  And proud.

It's hard now to see past my email inbox sometimes, but I'm trying to hold onto that girl for as long as I can.  I like to think she's still in there, underneath the lawyer-speak and fancy new iPhone (YES that happened).

And for the record, those shoes are still the best work purchase ever!
**UPDATE:  on that note:  (Thanks Rachel!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Korcula via Wine Tour

A few last views from Korcula...

We went on a "wine tour" while we were in Korcula, mostly because the rental place in town crushed my scooter dreams.  You know what they say.  If you can't drive, drink!  (Just me?)

Anyway.  The tour consisted of us and four other people in a van with a guide and a driver who took us out of town and up in the hills.  We stopped at a few view points, heard a bit about the history of the island, and then drove past/through some vineyards and stopped at a tasting room where we tried a bunch of different wines.

{we climbed up these 101 stairs (before the wine) to get to this pretty little church}
Korcula is known for a white wine that's a bit too acidic and too sweet for my taste, but I take what I can get. Plus it's called postup (pronounced: po-ship), which is just more fun to say than "saw-veen-yawn-blawnk." Apparently it's also quite rare. The postup wine is only grown by two families on the island who own all the vineyard land between them. They grow the grapes, make the wines, and bottle them all themselves! I really wish we could have gone to a vineyard rather than a tasting room, but they didn't really look like they were open to tourists. Which makes me sad, but happy, too -- it's probably better that way.  Like how bars close at 2am.

{aforementioned pretty little church}

Sidenote: our tour lady was super awesome and sassy and I wanted to be her long-distance bff.  She was from Split (the "big city"), had moved to Korcula with her husband, and was as out of place there as a New Yorker in Hawaii.  So great.  I asked her about how she ever went shopping/didn't it cost a bajillion kunas to ship anything there?; Brian asked her how Korcula was affected by the War of Independence...way to kill the mood buddy.  JK(ish).

Now that's a VISTA.  And a good place to end.

Have a lovely Tuesday friends.

Friday, October 12, 2012

This weekend, I'm looking forward to...

...getting lots of nose kisses from this little guy...

...throwing a bridal shower with these ladies...

...and roaming around this 'hood...

...see you soon, San Francisco!  
So excited for this visit!

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

P.S. some more SF posts for you.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

We have a pan somewhere, right?

While we're on the topic of cooking...

Let's take this opportunity to re-watch this little gem of a YouTube hit, just for a minute:

Filmed at my neighborhood store nonetheless.

It relates[ish], I swear.

Whole Foods and I used to be bff's.  I knew which organic cereal was actually edible (it's the peanut butter Puffins), which sheeps-milk yogurt was worth the price, and always remembered to write down the sku number for the bulk almonds.  But for the past year (yes, year), I haven't been cooking at all.

In law school I cooked for basically every meal (except for when I actually went out and tried to have a life).  It used to bother me when people said they "didn't cook," because to me, cooking was just a basic part of taking care of yourself.  It was what you did when you got hungry.

And then I got a job.  And you know the story.  Countless fridge loads of the fresh ingredients I'd spent my precious Sunday afternoons picking out went bad, and I felt like such a shmuck every time I had to throw them out.  I told myself it was because I was busy; I didn't have time to cook.

Of course, I knew I was lying.  There's always time to make a stir fry.  Alllllways.

The truth is, I just didn't feel like cooking anymore.  I just felt like I deserved a break.  A break from responsibility, from discipline, from "should's" and "to do's" and anything that required a list.  Frankly, I needed a break from pretending to be a grown-up all day, almost every day.  So I didn't cook.

And nothing bad happened, health-wise at least.  In fact, I'm fairly certain that I ate more vegetables because of the constant health-guilt I felt for eating out all the time (also, no one wants to be that person who orders two slices of cake for dinner...).  Our credit card bills, hem...they've fared a little less well.  So, sitting by the Seine one day in Paris, Brian and I decided we'd rather spend that eating-out money on plane tickets and adventures or my shopping habit, and made a plan that when we got back, we'd start cooking to save money.  We set a goal of three times a week and said we'd think of it as our fun-enabling savings plan.

Naturally, I started by spending some money (ha) on some new cookbooks* -- the kind that responsible adults own that give you tips on how to prep stuff ahead of time and plan out grocery lists.  Sounded pretty boring, not gonna lie.  I wasn't stoked.

But you guys.  This meal planning stuff is changing my life!  And yes, I am fully aware of how LAME that sounds, and I feel like a total loser/soccer-mom-without-a-kid right now, but honestly, I'm loving it!  Case in point:  Monday night we had Morrocan turkey burgers with dried figs, cumin, and goat cheese, and a side of butternut squash with coriander and cinnamon (and butter, obvi).  On a Monday.  And it took me ~15 minutes!  (I know, I know, lame -- but when your usual Monday dinner is a mall food court salad, turkey burgers are a life improvement worth getting excited about.)

The best part about this whole cooking experiment though, and the reason I'm sharing it I suppose, is really just the fact that every time I make a meal on a weeknight, I feel like I'm making this BigLaw life that shouldn't work, work.**  Which is so gratifying!  It's like, at least I'm winning at dinner, right?

Anyway, I'll try to post my favorite easy recipes as I discover them, and I hope you'll share your own faves in the comments or by email!

*The book I've been using most is Robin Rescues Dinner, which is organized into 52 weeks of 3 seasonal meal plans per week.  The recipes allow you to make some stuff a day or two ahead of time, and they have overlapping ingredients so you don't end up wasting food (also, this is where the awesome turkey burger recipe came from!).  I also bought Cook's Illustrated's The Best Make Ahead Recipes and Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook.  I have high hopes for the crockpot -- I feel like you can do incredible things in there.  (Crockpot cake anyone?)

**Alternatively, I may have written this post entirely as an excuse to re-watch that Whole Foods video.  Which (in my book) is totally legit (just sayin').

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Rooftop Dinner

The summer of 2007 was a hot one in North Carolina.  I remember feeling like I was living in a sauna, but with clothes on.

The good thing about those hot Southern days, though, is that they make for the most peaceful, beautiful nights.  One evening, right at dusk, I remember thinking I couldn't tell where the air ended and my skin began.  For just that moment, everything stood still.

On nights like those, we used to barbecue.  We'd invite our friends over and set up the makeshift grill we picked up at Food Lion on the patch of grass behind Brian's apartment, and play country on his laptop.  One of those days, Brian and I went Californian and picked up some tuna at Whole Foods instead of the usual ground beef, and a half-hour later, the Pearson Burger was born.

For our second anniversary, I thought I'd bring back the tradition (maybe it was the ridiculous late-summer L.A. heat wave that brought me back...).  So on a Saturday night, I threw on an LBD, set up our patio furniture up on the roof (OK fine, Brian did that), picked up some gold chargers and candles at the Dollar Store (keepin' it classy), and made a real Pearson-Burger feast.  There may have been a little less beer than there used to be at our backyard barbecues, but they were the same old Pearson Burgers, and we were the same old(er) us.

{this might have been the first time I had cooked in a year ha...}

Pearson Burgers
Sesame oil
2 ahi steaks
Salt & pepper
2 sesame buns
1/4 c. Mayo
1/2 orange
1/2 avocado

Brush the grill/grill pan with sesame oil and let it heat up on medium-high.  Spread some oil on the steaks and season with salt and pepper.  When the pan is hot, throw the steaks on.  Cook for about 5 minutes per side, until fully cooked on the outside, but pink inside.  Squeeze half of the orange over the tuna just before its done. 

While the tuna is cooking, mix together the mayo with as much wasabi as you can handle (in my case, less is more), and slather on the sesame buns.  Slice the avocado and add to the buns, too. 

Top with the tuna steaks.  Eat.

Pearson Slaw
Broccoli slaw (the kind that's pre-shredded and comes in a bag...let's be real here) -- you'll only need about 1/2 the bag
1-2 T. wasabi-mayo (depending on how mayo-y you like your slaw)
1/2 c. cashews (I like to use the chili-lime ones from Trader Joe's to add some spice)
1 t. curry powder
1 orange

Grate the orange rind, and squeeze the juice of 1/2 orange.  Mix all ingredients.  Add some chili powder if you like it hot.

Ginger-Orange Pudding Cups
Instant vanilla pudding
2 cups of milk
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 c. shredded coconut
Whatever is left of your grated orange rind
Candied ginger, finely chopped

Follow instructions for the instant pudding, but add the cinnamon and coconut in with the milk.  When it's done cooking, pour into bowls, and top with orange rind and chopped candied ginger.  You could also add a pour of triple sec if you wanted.  Serve warm.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic

This weekend we didn't do anything we were supposed to do.  We shirked all responsibility, ate and drank willy-nilly, and thought about nothing of importance.  We didn't cook; we didn't clean; and I didn't pick up that last roll of film I took in Croatia (sorry!).  Instead, we wore silly outfits and got drunk on expensive champagne while people on horses hit a ball around.  It was a grand ol' time.

{Brian breaking out the seersucker!}
There are about 65 pictures of the two of us on my camera...I feel sorry for the boys we made take all of them for us!  Haha!

We ran into a friend from Duke!  (And promptly made ourselves comfortable on her Veuve blanket.)

The only let-down was the lack of celebrity sightings.  (The VIP tent was on the other side of the field (behind us in this pic), so all the celebs were totally segregated from us commoners.)  Luckily, there were enough fabulous outfits everywhere to keep me entertained :)  It was a carefree day of glamour and luxury -- th best kind of day!

*Not pictured:  a repeat Lobsta Truck appearance.  YUM.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Summer's Last Hurrah

Yesterday, I checked the time at work, thinking it had to be super late because it was so dark out, and it was only 7pm.  

It wasn't exactly cold when I went on a run this morning, but it was a little prickly.  

I think this may be the last weekend of summer here in L.A.

I'll be spending it at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic -- I know, who am I?  It looks like one of those things that only happens in movies about rich teenagers where someone is a secret prince or something.  Or movies about lovable prostitutes...either way.  I'm  at a total loss for what to wear.  My Southern side says polo = Lily, but just the thought of a Lily makes my Californian self want to barf (but yes, I own's a struggle).  But really, it doesn't matter anyway because no one will be looking at me, they'll be looking at the celebrities horses, right?  Whatever I end up wearing, I'll make sure to bring a camera and report back!

I hope you all have a fun weekend -- and for those of you in S.F., have a wonderful fleet weekend!!! -- and I'll see you back here Monday, hopefully with some celeb sightings to share!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Croatia, Part 2: Korcula

After a crazy few days in Hvar, we hopped on a ferry and headed to Korcula, about an hour and a half away.

Korcula is less beachy, and less of a party-scene than Hvar (hence why we opted to spend Sun-Tues here, rather than the weekend).  There were also a lot fewer British accents, and lot more French and German accents here (funny).  Its charm lies in its pretty views, and its quaint Old Town, complete with a picturesque bell tower and a gorgeous shoreline strolling path.  It was out of a story book!

I'll have a few more pictures from a wine tour we took once I get my last roll of film developed this weekend (Last roll!  Sad!), but for now, here are a few favorite snaps!

Some (Random) Notes:
- Lonely Planet raved about Croatian ice cream.  Don't get your hopes up; it's nothing special (sadly).  But their pastries are delicious!

- Stay in an apartment on Korcula, not a hotel.  We stayed in this one (thanks to Sharz's rec!), which was very reasonably priced, modern and clean.  It was about a 5 minute walk to Old Town, and had a gorgeous terrace with a view!

- LD Terrace is the best restaurant in town, and it has a gorgeoussss view!

- Speaking of food, fish have bones here, and olives have pits, and grapes have seeds.  Chew accordingly.

- Funny story.  We tried to rent a scooter to drive around the island and were turned down because of our lack of scooter-driving experience!  Apparently, we're totally trustworthy to drive a boat, alone, in the open ocean, but don't even think about letting us on a scooter!

- Getting to/from Korcula should be easy considering how close it is to Hvar.  But actually, it can be a b*tch. There is only ONE ferry route from Korcula to Hvar (continuing on to Split), and it leaves at SIX O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING.  FOR NO GOOD REASON.  How could there ever be a good reason for that?  It's inhumane.  And on top of that, you can only buy tickets for the one ferry the night before, between 7 and 8pm -- prime pre-dinner drinking time -- FOR NO GOOD REASON.  And tickets sell out regularly.  Ridic.

P.S. You can see Part 1 of my photos from Hvar here, and instagrams here, if you'd like.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Croatia, Part 1: Hvar

                          3.  Existing in its purest form in Hvar, Croatia.

Hvar was INCREDIBLE!  Gorgeous Mediterranean views, a beachy and boozy nightlife, and a chain of nearby islands that are yours for the taking, all wrapped in the prettiest jewel of a harbor still my heart!  I can't even EXPLAIN how happy our days here made me (but I'll try!).
 {view from our hotel}
{the pool - with real pine trees in it - what?!}

{Hvar Harbor}
{the main square}

There are boat taxis that take you to the nearby Pakleni Islands during the day, where you can swim, lounge, drink at the beach clubs, or sunbathe nude if you'd like (scandalous!).

{Jerolim Island}
{clearest water ever}
If you're not in the mood to share a boat taxi with commoners, you can always rent your own (NBD).  No experience required.  You don't have to sign anything or provide a security deposit, and there's no time when you have to have it back; you want a boat, you can have one (for $160/day).  So obvi, we rented a boat.

We had no idea where we were going, or how to drive a boat really, but Captain Brian had it under control 
(riiiiiight...).  Brian drove us all around the Med, dropping anchor at a few beach clubs and a couple empty coves where we swam and read books while laying out on our boat.  I must have said a hundred times that day that it just felt like a dream.

 Top five favorite days of my life, easily.

{Captain Brian :)}
{leaving Hvar}

My favorite of the islands we stopped at was Parmizana.  It had a really cool bar where you could sit in the trees while you sipped your drinks, and we also had the best meal of our time in Croatia there at the restaurant called Toto's (part of the Meneghello resort, which looks ah-mazing btw).  The food was unbelievably fresh and flavorful, and the view was unbeatable.  (I took a few instagrams there, but didn't bring my real camera ashore.)  

I could have stayed on Parmizana for a few days, basking in the glory of that beautiful, beautiful island.  But instead, we headed back to Hvar to watch the sunset at the Hula Hula bar, where the same DJ plays the same techno-meets-Enya soundtrack every evening until the sun drops below the horizon, at which point the entire bar erupts in a celebratory, almost primal scream, and the dance party gets started.  (I have no real pictures of this, as drunken sunset dance parties and cameras don't really mix.) 

And that's just a little pre-dinner socializing.

Following a short break for octopus salad, calamari, and fish stew, the island heads to Carpe Diem, which is really the cherry on top of this hedonism sundae.  Carpe Diem is a bar in the harbor that's open until 2am.  But it's also a nightclub.  On an island.  That you get to by boat taxis.  Which leave every ten minutes starting at 2am.  :)

Three glorious days and four glorious nights in Hvar, and it still feels like it was all a dream.