long weekend adventures

Shoutout to my friend Katie for visiting me this weekend! The adventure started late Thursday night when Katie landed at LAX and I picked her up. We promptly fell asleep because we had a big day planned for Friday…fifteen and a half hours at Disneyland!

31007FC7-173C-45B4-9786-3CA3B89E0CDA.JPG

Disney really is the most magical place on earth. Lines actually weren’t that long, so we were able to go on every ride more than once. I ended up buying a season pass for myself because it’s something everyone seems to want to go to when they visit. To commemorate the occasion, I bought myself a pair of Mickey Ears. Princess-themed, of course.

CEBA89C5-E1A3-4E99-8B63-C19126C51195.JPG

There was a pair of bright pink ears with a tiara that I almost exchanged these ones for, but they had Aurora’s face on it, and I was not about that. I also can’t help but laugh at this picture below as we realized that you get a lot wetter in the front few seats of Splash Mountain than you’d expect.

A3E5ADDB-D9A0-4E3C-8B69-7F2FBEC776D0.JPG

After Disney, we were ready for a more relaxed, but still fun-filled Saturday. First up, Santa Monica.

00E2C5F9-EECD-4264-BA6E-E0E030C2CBBA.JPG

Shameless selfie.

209ccc48-c4e3-4638-9258-9b14c371fb4a

Next, we hit up Venice.

BC932AB3-F222-42C9-8520-BCFE693C6684.JPG

That afternoon, we ended up watching the Patriots game at a bar (football is not my sport). In and Out called for dinner and then it was a fairly early night as we watched some Friends reruns and fell asleep.

On Sunday, we were up early again to head over to WB Studios to take the tour. Friends!

C3288592-A203-435E-A979-9FF6F23BCE2B.JPG

One day maybe I’ll be holding an Oscar of my own.

74C5788D-59F0-45D5-90E5-32F2C62A4B97.jpg

The rest of the day, we headed into Hollywood to see the Chinese Theater, Walk of Fame, and Hollywood Sign. We also drove through West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, then headed over to the Grove for a bit. More Friends reruns finished off the night.

On Monday, I dropped Katie off early at the airport and promptly went back to sleep. Boy, do the days fly! Once I woke up, I made myself breakfast and finished some chores around the apartment before heading out for a bike ride.

Can we please talk about this view?

3BA4ACF9-4B96-40CF-84F8-D39C185C3708.JPG

And the sunset before grocery shopping.

71C5B782-9048-4BD3-B048-B1CB0143BC7D.JPG

The rest of the night, I meal prepped for the week, dyed my hair, and did some laundry. A great weekend, but still had to prepare for the week!

nora ephron and reading

This week, I finished Nora Ephron’s memoir I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections. Nora wrote one of my favorite films, When Harry Met Sally, and she’s always been a writer I admired from afar. Having just moved to LA to pursue writing, I’ve made it my goal to learn as much as I can from past and current writers, especially female.

44692051-cached

I love Hollywood memoirs and books about Hollywood stars. I’ve made no question about my love for Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, and I also recently finished Amy Schumer’s book, which I enjoyed immensely. One of my favorite books of all time is Kate Remembered, a book written about Katharine Hepburn’s later years, which is fascinating, sweet, and speaks to me for whatever reason.

I believe that I Remember Nothing was Nora Ephron’s final book before she died. (Thanks to Google, I confirmed this as fact). As I read, I felt bittersweet compassion for her. She loved her family, writing, food, and New York City more than anything. She struggled and triumphed, as a woman, as a writer, as a human being, and her best medicine was to write about it.

41ilxqhhtml-_sy344_bo1204203200_

The memoir included a series of essays on topics such as her career in journalism, love of salt and not caring if the chef at a restaurant felt offended by her using it, the fragility of life, realizing that her friends never liked the dessert she baked for Christmas dinner, losing friends, and the things she’d miss and wouldn’t miss in life. In hindsight, this book was her goodbye. I feel privileged to have read this book and experienced, however briefly, life through her eyes.

Sometimes I forget how important it is to read. It’s so much easier to come home at the end of a long day and flip on the tv (okay, laptop for Netflix). Reading requires imagination, effort, thinking. Reading is the easiest way to explore the world, not only to various exotic places in the world, through fiction and non-fiction, but through different minds. Perspectives, we only ever truly know our own, but we can learn so much from others. Be it if they invite you in and share it, if you observe it, or if you accept it.

My goal is to read a book a week, which feels ambitious, sadly, if I’m being honest. But if I can watch a season of a television show in a week, then I can spend a few hours reading.

Happy Monday!

I’m trying to be consistent, but then I get out of the habit of blogging! At least I did some fun stuff over the weekend.

Friday night, it was gym-time. I really wasn’t feeling like going after a long week at work, but I had taken Thursday off and knew I would feel better once I finished. I ended up killing a lower body workout, ending with a run and felt great! Lunch at work was fried chicken- heavy- so for dinner, I had half a sandwich and a cup of tomato soup. The perfect accompaniment? The new season of Fuller House. Yes, it’s outrageously cheesy, but they know it, they use it well, and it’s all sorts of adorable. Nostalgia is in!

On Saturday, I was happy to not set an alarm and zzz. For breakfast, I made myself a veggie scramble and a waffle. So good and quite the meal to fuel my hike. My friend and I decided to hike to the Hollywood Sign, which is no easy feat. We took the long way and about a quarter of a mile in, I needed to pee. So we turned around and I used the MOST DISGUSTING port-a-potty known to man. It’s a good thing I can squat. But, I was better for it, and crushed that hike. I mean…

IMG_6127.JPG

IMG_6130.JPG

I can’t get enough of the view, even on a cloudy day!

IMG_6135.JPG

IMG_6138.JPG

By the time we hiked down, it was time for food and you better believe I worked for those chips and salsa. After dinner, we saw Office Christmas Party, which was funny but also, when are we going to allow women to be powerful and in charge and not a total bitch? I expect more than anti-feminist jokes in a movie that features Jennifer Aniston and Kate McKinnon. C’mon!

I was sore and had wracked up 21,000+ steps on my Saturday, but I did myself a favor and trekked out to the grocery store to get it done! It might not be the most glamorous way to spend a Saturday night, but it made my Sunday that much better.

Speaking on Sunday, it was time for more Fuller House while I munched on my pancake breakfast, folded laundry, and cleaned. After breakfast, I tossed a bunch of stuff into the crockpot and headed out for a bike ride. I love the beach. I always thought New York City was the city of my soul, but the ocean gets me. Surf’s up! Okay, I can’t pull that off and I’d probably make a terrible surfer, but it’s still on my LA Bucket List.

IMG_6139.JPG

(Side Note: Does anyone else remember that show California Dreams? I loved that ish.)

I rode for about 35 minutes and found myself a bench in which to gaze out into the ocean and write. Can’t.Beat.That. I really wanted to walk down to the water, but leaving my bike is a sensitive topic since it was, ya know, stolen.

After I headed back and grabbed a quick pb&j, I walked over to the gym and killed a body weight/plyometric-heavy workout. I mean, jumping plie squats, no but yes. Or yes, but no? Who cares, I did it. And loved it.

Back to the store it was, this time to Target, and it was MADNESS. I don’t like people surrounding me while shopping on the best of days, but this was chaos. I got what I needed, stood in line for too long, and hit the road.

Sunday night was productive. First, a dinner of chicken, broccoli, spinach, and ziti with a side salad. Then, I prepared my meals for the week, this time chicken and two-bean chili that smelled (and tasted) divine. Yay for new, yummy recipes! Next up, I needed to touch up my hair because it’s the holidays and people be paying attention. I also, importantly, finally got some nail polish remover and wiped away the buck wild nail polish sporadically on my nails. Yuck.

A new workout plan was in the cards, particularly of the core, which is always exciting (genuinely). Blog post writing time, regular writing time, and reading before bed, and I was ready for a full night sleep and to start the week!

Get it!

 

Where The Celebs At?

Happy Wednesday, party people! I’ve officially been in LaLaLand for one whole week and I’ve yet to see one celebrity. Say wha-at? I don’t even want to consider the number of celebrities that might have passed me by and I missed because I wasn’t observant enough. I was fairly certain I was going to be super famous and best friends with all of them by now… No? Well, at least I thought I’d be married to Chris Evans.

Maybe it’s because I’m spending so much time cooped up in the library getting some work done. Throughout college, I worked at a library, so it’s one of my happy places and never fails to make me productive.

Recap of yesterday:

Tuesday morning, I rolled out of bed for some cheesy eggs, an English muffin, and raspberries. Not a bad way to start the day at all.

IMG_5700.JPG

After getting some work done at home, I drove into Hollywood, which, weird!, to meet my cousin for lunch. It’s all about friendly faces these days, let me tell you. I’m still not used to looking up and seeing palm trees or the Hollywood sign in the distance on my commute.

It would be nice to insert a picture here, but alas, driving and snapping pictures is frowned upon.

When in doubt (or stress or anything), gym time never fails me and I crushed it with a strength training line-up of biceps, back, legs, and core before finishing up with a quick interval ride on the bike. For strength, I worked through four sets of fifteen reps, two exercises for biceps, five for back, and five for legs- those bad boys were shaking (in a good way). My core workout included three exercises and I meant to do three sets of twenty, but ended up doing four sets, so a good ‘oops’ I guess.

Let’s take a look at that workout:

Biceps- Cross-Body Curls, High Bicep Curls

Back- Single-Arm Rows, Weighted Supermans, Back Extensions, High Pulls, Standing Rows

Legs- Front Squats, Lunges, Deadlifts, Kneeling Side Leg Raises, Kettlebell Swings

Core- Flutter Kicks, V Ups, Side Plank Dips

Once I finished on the bike, I was good and sweaty and ready for a snack and a cup of coffee at home!

Greek yogurt will never be the same for me after I had the homemade version at a local Greek pantry back at home, but I made do with good ol’ Chobani, mixing up the strawberry flavor with a handful of blueberries and some almonds.

To the library it was, but first, I got a phone call from an old friend/advisor that was very much appreciated. I can’t express how grateful I am to get calls and texts from family and friends in general, never mind that I’m in a new state, following my dreams, and pretty much by my lonesome.

As I mentioned, I do love the library, so I pretty much closed it up and headed home to make dinner. If it works one night, why not make it again the second? Whole grains, check. Protein, check. Veggies, check. Fat, check. Yum factor, check!

IMG_5701.JPG

The rest of the night consisted of some reading and writing quality time. I must still be on East Coast time because as I’m typing, I’m longing to go to bed, but it’s only 9:40 here. Soon!

Here’s a selfie shot I had to take because my hair was on point and it would have been a waste for no one to have seen it.

IMG_5702.JPG

 

Two Days!

Pretty soon, I’ll be off on my adventure and I hope to share with you all as I go through it. I’m now two days out from my big adventure and there’s a million different feelings and thoughts circling my head. Change is big and scary and necessary, and not in the least easy. These past few months have been a whirlwind of preparations intermingled with the usual workdays and summer happenings. Especially in these past few days, I’ve spent a lot of time with family and friends, not exactly saying ‘goodbye’, but more ‘see you at Christmas,’ but it’s still weird.

Many people have asked me if this move is “it,” meaning I’m not coming back. I understand the sentiment, but I don’t think there’s ever a way of knowing if anything is  “it.” What I’m telling people is that I’m going on an adventure. It’s as temporary as it is permanent, which sums up everything we do in life. I’m going for a multitude of reasons, number one being that I want to write for TV. I will never feel settled in anything that I do professionally until I give this a shot. It’s my dream.

As my mom said, when I mentioned it was hard that my dreams were taking me far away: “That’s the point of dreams, you have to chase them.” People may think I have a glamorous view of moving to Hollywood and pursuing my dreams. They’re not wrong because it’s hard not to envision this complete change of life, with a lot of fear, but much more hope, thinking that things might just fall into place, but I also have no delusions that this journey will be easy. That’s what makes up a journey, struggles and triumphs. The whole “blood, sweat, and tears” trope is very real. I don’t know if I will succeed as a writer in a place where there are thousands of people doing the same exact thing, but I have to believe in myself and my talent, and give it my all. At the very worst, I will have tried, learned invaluable lessons, and lived.

I’m entirely fortunate to have the very best family and friends to support me through it.

Part 6: And That’s A Wrap

Our final full day of vacation was spent doing the best thing we planned and it didn’t cost a cent! Hiking is such a wonderful way to connect with nature and to the self. There is something humbling and powerful in crawling just above everything else. Maybe it makes you realize just how small you are, how insignificant the little things are, how wonderful and peaceful the world can be.

IMG_3611

Molly and I had breakfast and lots of water before making our way towards Griffith Park where we decided to hike. I had read online where to start, but the Uber driver was not feeling like dropping us off where we asked, so we went into the hike blindly. It wasn’t life shattering ebcause you just follow the trails and the other people hiking, but we were pleased with our navigation success, even if a few minutes of the hike was spent in a darkened tunnel with traffic on both sides and no side walk.

IMG_3615

Once we made it up the hill to Griffith Observatory, we stopped to snap some pictures of the view, including a shot of the Hollywood Sign, before deciding to dedicate ourselves to the climb and go as far up as possible.

IMG_3630

When the folks online said the Griffith Park hike was easy-medium, I am going to assume that they meant just the part up to Griffith Observatory because once we continued climbing, some spots were a straight shot up.

IMG_3617

My legs felt fine for the duration of the trip, but the steep hike combined with sitting on a plane for 5 and a half hours the next day, left my thighs feeling in more pain than I’ve experienced with exercise. I even tried to roll them out and found they were too sore. A little time has helped.

Had we been in Boston humidity, we would have suffocated. There was no shade and it was so hot, but we weren’t suffering from it. I had lathered on the sunblock real nice and wanted my hair to brighten from the sun, so I left the hat at home and felt fine throughout. The particularly hilly spots were challenging, but it was nothing we felt that we couldn’t handle. Sometimes, I do still like to complain.

IMG_3619

We stopped only in moments that we felt showed the best views and there were some spectacular views. I took a ton of pictures, certain to be careful and clutch my phone so as it didn’t roll down a mountain. I can’t believe some of these photos were taken by me, mostly because I am not a photographer, but it would be hard to mess up how beautiful the sights were.

IMG_3618

Having made it up to the highest spot, we found ourselves to be slightly above even the Hollywood Sign and looked down into Los Angeles. California is truly breathtaking and only some of that love I’m feeling for it has to do with the fact that I was visiting and don’t live there everyday.

IMG_3620

What goes up, must come down and I could fully appreciate that climbing uphill is actually easier. As I mentioned, some parts were steep and I had to move slow or my knees would buckle. I would guess that the hike was about 5-6 miles, but I am terrible at predicting these things and often overestimate my accomplishments when I don’t track it.

IMG_3623

Once we did make it to the base, we were hungry and ready for a filling lunch.

IMG_3626

I remembered that there was a cheap, but tasty sushi place nearby, so we walked another 10 minutes and ordered ourselves up a feast. The most satisfying part was all of the water we downed for the half hour we were at lunch. I selected the spicy tuna roll, which is actually the first time I’ve ever eaten raw fish, and I enjoyed it. I also got a mini chicken teriyaki bowl, which I assure you, was cooked all the way through. The restaurant happened to be next door to the Improv Comedy Place that Amy Poehler co-created, so I had to snap a photo!

IMG_3635

We had plans that night to meet my friend, Brad, for dinner, so we headed back to the hotel to spend the late afternoon by the pool. Besides the breakfast, the pool area was the best part of the hotel. The pool itself was refreshing, but the sitting area and palm trees outlining it made it something special. The only thing that would have made it better was if we could have ordered a few Pina Coladas, but we were content with the water we got.

After, it was time to stop by the store for some wine and hair dye. For whatever reason, I was inspired to make a little change to my hair, so I decided to dye it blonde. The results turned out nicely, though not as blonde as I want. You have to make these changes at a gradual pace, I guess.

IMG_3636

I even lucked out in the timing so that I got to watch the season finale of the show Baby Daddy, which I’m kind of obsessed with. I was very pleased with the ending.

IMG_3637

IMG_3638

Molly and I met Brad at a semi-fancy Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills. We all ordered the spaghetti with marinara sauce. It was delicious, but could have easily been made at home…and cheaper. I mean, the six dollar sushi we had for lunch came with more food, but we did get to sit outside on a beautiful night with great company, so I won’t complain further.

IMG_3646

For dessert, we stopped at Millions of Milkshakes, which isn’t quite as fancy, but even more delicious. I went with a Reese’s Cup and Oreo milkshake.

On Thursday, we woke up to enjoy one last breakfast at the hotel. Having a complimentary breakfast that includes so many options was such a great aspect to the trip! It helped us save a ton of money and ensured that we had a nutritious start to our days. Once we finished eating and packing, it was time to check out and make our way to the airport.

Traveling home is always hard because part of you does not want to end vacation and the other part just wants to be home. This is why apparating (Harry Potter reference) would be such a wonderful and lazy tool in our society. Think of how much traveling and exploring we could all do!

Anyways, before taking off, Molly and I had lunch at a food truck inside the airport. I went with a short rib burrito that tasted yummy at the start, but I think my stomach had had enough of the savory indulgences of the past week and decided to rebel against me. A half hour before boarding, I was certain I was going to be sick for the whole ride, but a little time and Pepto-Bismol settled everything down. Phew.

Flying home had a little more turbulence than the seamless ride there, but it was also shorter and it’s nothing I can complain about. Overall, it was a wonderful trip and I’m so glad I got to do so many fun things with my friend!

IMG_3629

Part Five: I Think I Look Really Cool in a Backwards Hat

I love love love the sun and yesterday I spent the day at the beach, including starting my morning off with some Yoga by the water. It was harder than I imagined and I almost fell over a bunch of times, but I’m glad I went. A good rainstorm once in awhile can have the same effect, which has been especially beneficial to my garden today. When I first started typing this up, I was sipping on a cup of coffee and listening to the rain and all feels well. I had to run off to work so I am now finishing several hours later and getting ready to head out for a kickboxing class.

Now onto part five. These recaps are flying by as fast as the trip itself!

Our fifth day was a touristy one. We bought tickets to the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour that I’ve done in a few places, as well as a few times in LA, including New York, London, and Oxford. It’s a great way to see cities, to get around, and to distinguish what you want to do more of and what you’re fine with just passing by.

It was about 95 and the sun was blaring, but thanks to no humidity and the cool breeze, we had no trouble sitting on the top deck. This time, we knew to slather on the sunblock and I wore my new hat to protect my scalp.

IMG_3610

I didn’t take a ton of pictures because I was nervous the bus would lurch and I would drop my phone, but I can walk you through the tour. We started in Hollywood, once again bypassing other tourists stopping to take pictures of the stars every few seconds until we could get onto the bus. The ride took us to Sunset Boulevard, Melrose Ave, Beverly Hills, and The Grove, where we got off for lunch.

IMG_3607

We walked around the Farmer’s Market then all the stores at The Grove while we waited to get a little hungrier and decide what we wanted to eat. It was a sandwich kind of day, so I went with a ham and cheese with lettuce, tomato, and mustard on a croissant. It was quite tasty and after finishing with a scoop of sweetness from an ice cream shoppe, we headed out to meet our bus.

The entire ride of this particular section was two hours long, so we stayed on, taking in the views and the clear, picture-perfect day until we made it to Beverly Hills again. Here, we hopped off and hopped onto another bus that would take us through Santa Monica, Brentwood, and Westwood.

IMG_3609

There is no live tour guide, but you can opt to listen to a pre-recorded taping that offers quite a lot of information. It’s particularly nice to take tours like this in big cities where walking everywhere is not particularly easy because you can see a lot more than you would otherwise. It was amazing to stop in front of the beach again and take in the view, though it made me want to run down and dive into the water.

Once we made it to Westwood, we jumped off in order to make a stop at a place called Diddy Riese where they sell delicious cookies and ice cream on the cheap. I mentioned that we indulged our sweet teeth quite a lot on this trip and didn’t hesitate to navigate our way to the store. It was so good!

We didn’t have much time to explore the area though it seemed like a nice, fun college town reminiscent of Boston because we had to catch the last bus to Beverly Hills! As we pulled into Beverly Hills and were stopped at a traffic light, Molly spotted Kerry Washington. Neither of us watch Scandal but she’s recognizable enough for us to brag about it and get street cred for the sighting. Just as we were about to wave, she turned around, but it’s probably for the best not to look like crazed tourists.

Back in Beverly Hills and waiting to get onto our bus back to Hollywood, we spotted a helicopter flying above us, which led us to think something crazy cool was happening, but nothing ever came to fruition.

It was cool to be driving through the area as it darkened until I got hit in the eye by a tree branch and I decided to wear my sunglasses for protection. It was actually funnier than it sounds though it could have done some damage.

Deciding to get a bite to eat for dinner before heading back to our hotel, Molly and I stopped into Mel’s Drive-In for a little Breakfast for Dinner. I chose French toast and Molly had pancakes that were pretty good.

Another fun day was had!

To end, I would just like to pay tribute to Robin Williams who passed away a year ago today. I remember exactly where I was when I found out, on vacation with my family in New Hampshire, and that sadness and shock lingers.

Forgive people their humanness, you never know the pain that is in their hearts, even when their smile is so bright.