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best of january.

7 Feb

I have been the worst blogger, ever. I’m trying to find “balance” in all of my ridiculous hobbies and I let the blogging slip last month.  Whoops!  I realize I like this little outlet so I’m going to try and make a concerted effort to blog more often.  Here are some of my favorite moments from January:

Favorite Race

Well this is easy, since I only did one.  I had a great time racing drinking beer(s) after the 10k at the New Year’s Race.  The course was tough, but I managed 3rd woman overall.

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Favorite Run

This is a toss-up.  I haven’t run REALLY long since marathon training last year, and I hadn’t seen double digits since December.  But when I heard DTLARunning and Blacklist LA were teaming up to do a 16 miler from North Hollywood metro through the LA River bike path, I had to be part of it.  It was an amazing run and I realized my speed has improved significantly over the last year.

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Two weeks later, I joined Blacklist LA and DTLARunning for an epic 18-miler.  We started at the Culver City metro station and ran along the Ballona Creek bike path to Dockweiler Beach and back.  I started struggling around mile 14-15, but still had a great time, and my crew helped me through those last few miles.

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Best Trip

I made an MLK-weekend jaunt up to SF to visit my friend Whitney who recently moved up there, and I LOVED seeing some of my best friends from my sorority in college.  I also made pit-stops at one of my favorite Oakland eateries, visited the new SoulCycle in SoMA, sipped on both Blue Bottle and Philz coffee, and worked out of my firm’s SF office.

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Best meal

A couple of weeks ago, I got to check out a new LA restaurant called The Lost Knight (think British pub fare with a gastronomic twist).   I’ll definitely be back!

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Best beer(s)

I celebrated my birthday with seriously the best mix of people at Angel City Brewery.  I loved being surrounded by friends from high school, college, law school, the gym, and my running group.  It was an epic day and I am SO grateful to have such a diverse array of amazing people in my life, who also put up with my ridiculousness.

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Andres taking a picture of me taking a picture of him taking this picture.

see?

see?

 

there's cool art there, too.

there’s cool art there, too.

Best street art

I fell in love with this piece by Tristan Eaton in DTLA’s Arts District.

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Best randomly fun thing

My law school friend, Ross, has epic themed birthdays every year.  This year, we all dressed up as bananas (well, some of us wore yellow.  I learned my lesson and will take next year SUPER seriously) and then raided a couple of bars in Newport Beach.  Ross dressed as a gorilla.  We met Dennis Rodman (really bizarre experience). So much fun.

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this birthday was bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S

this birthday was bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S

February is off to a more low-key start.  What was your favorite memory from the first month of 2015?

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vienna: sights

31 Mar

I returned from Vienna on Friday and have a bunch of posts lined up that I want to do. Between the jet-lag and getting caught up on school work, though, my roommate and I are dealing with deciding to move after the recent theft of our apartment. It is unsettling and will all be ok, but obviously neither of us prepared for this.

Anyway – on to a recap of all of the fun touristy things I did while in Vienna!

Walking Around the City

In many ways, Vienna is sort of a mix between Paris and Prague. It has Paris’ upscale, posh vibe, and some of Prague’s charm. However, it lacks the magical feeling that either city has. That being said, Vienna has some awesome sights that can be explored easily on a walk through the city. On our first walk, we saw a bunch of beautiful government buildings, museums, and cathedrals.

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Parliament.

Parliament.

Votive Church

Votive Church

St. Stephens

St. Stephens

Easter Market

I had been in Vienna almost 4 years exactly (the week before Easter 2009) and I remembered the cool Easter Markets. We found a couple in the city and loved that we could buy food (pretzels and mulled wine) as well as some gifty items.

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Schronbunn Palace

We all visited the summer place of the Hapsburgs. It just so happened we went on a super snowy day, so we walked around a bit and opted not to go inside. The palace grounds are beautiful. I’d also been before once previously during weather that actually felt like spring, and can say it’s also pretty then.

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Hundertwasser Haus

Soooo it’s no secret that I am obsessed with modern architecture (hellooooo Frank Gehry designed my law school and I specifically sought out the building he designed when I visited Prague). I also love Gaudí (duh). Luckily, one morning Rachael and I set out for a run and literally stumbled upon this amazing house designed by Hundertwasser. Rachael and I headed back there a few days later to check it out. So cool.

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Freud Museum

I am a huge psych nerd and was kicking myself for not making it to this museum when I visited Vienna 4 years ago. The museum itself is housed in Freud’s old apartment/office. We got to see the waiting room his patients would sit in, as well as the office he used to see patients. Unfortunately, the couch they would lie on his now housed in a museum in London. It was pretty cool to see some of his notes and writings.

waiting room.

waiting room.

oh you know, just some cocaine studies.

oh you know, just some cocaine studies.

Belvedere Palace

The Belvedere Palace was a must – it houses Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.” It was also home to the Hapsburgs during non-summer months. The museum was pretty impressive, and had some other Klimt pieces I found particularly impressive.

epic in person.

epic in person.

#love... Klimt - Avenue in Schloss Kammer Park

#love… Klimt – Avenue in Schloss Kammer Park

can't argue with a view like this.

can’t argue with a view like this.

The Kunsthorisches Museum (“The Koonst”)

This is essentially Vienna’s main art museum. Rachael and I headed here – and our first stop was lunch in the café – which was stunning in and of itself. We wandered around and checked out the massive art collection – including more Klimt as well as Velazquez and Vermeer.

The Koonst.

The Koonst.

view from the cafe.

view from the cafe.

Velazquez's Margarita Teresa (done at the same time as his Las Meninas)

Velazquez’s Margarita Teresa (done at the same time as his Las Meninas)

(Read about my ode to Las Meninas/Madrid obsession here).

Rachael and I both loved this painting:

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I’d definitely recommend a visit to the Koonst!

Other Vienna tips:

I’d also recommend visiting the Secession Hall to see the Klimt frieze that is there.

Visiting the huge open-air market known as the Nashmarkt. I had an incredible doner kebab there.

Other fun shopping opps include the department stores called Julius Meinl and the Bristol Farms equivalent at Hoher Markt.

I think that more or less covers all of the touristy things I did during my week in Vienna. I’d love to hear other recommendations people have or what their favorite thing about the city is! I’ll be back soon with a food post.

crafts, córdoba, and crescent pose.

8 Jul

So after my mix of productive (10k) and lazy (pool lounging and margaritas) on the 4th, I was zonked on Thursday, although I did find my little field trip to the Mental Health Courts really interesting. Yay, Psychology! I had a random little day – field trip in the morning, swim workout (!) at lunch time, and then I popped back over to my judge’s chambers for a couple of hours.

Later that night, I met up with Aviva for an event at the Craft and Folk Art Museum on Museum Row on Wilshire’s Miracle Mile. We tapped into our crafty sides for an event put on by Etsy and Mark Montano to make our own zip-tie bracelets! For $7 we got snacks (there was also beer but I passed), enough supplies and instructions to make 3 bracelets, and free entry to the museum exhibits.

CAFAM.

The technique was pretty easy. Trim the zip-ties to fit loosely (bangle style) and secure with scotch tape. Then tie a string of beads to the zip-tie between the fourth and fifth beads, and wind the ribbon around the beads twice. Secure the ribbon with a little crazy glue and voila! Homemade zip-tie bangles! It was fun to flex my arts and crafts muscle for the first time in forever, even if Aviva had to help me at points due to my insane impatience.

We checked out the exhibits – there were two really interesting ones on baseball memorabilia and another on war. I want to make an effort to go to more museums – and will definitely try and make it to another CAFAM event soon…maybe the one next weekend about craft beer? Hmm.

Saturday involved some poolside lounging with my friend Armita, and I FINALLY re-created my favorite spanish dish, Salmorejo cordobés! I fell  in love with salmorejo when I traveled to Córdoba with my friend Laura and her (now fiancé) Juan to visit his family. His mother made this INCREDIBLE dish for us – it’s like a cold soup but I eat it as a dip. I need to make this every day, it is that good.

do not knock this until you’ve tried it.

Armita and I gorged on salmorejo and she made incredible stuffed red bell peppers. We also watched some of one of our favorite childhood movies – The Parent Trap with Lilo before she went cray. Such a classic.

sad.

I then realized that I am an old person. Early dinner and a movie and I was exhausted. That is mildly troubling.

Sunday morning Whitney, Riley, and I hit up yoga at Runyon Canyon. The instructor wasn’t my favorite at first, but I warmed up to him. He was crazy speedy with the sun salutations and I definitely think he’s in the “yoga is exercise” and not “yoga is meditation” camp, but I sorta dug that. By the end, I really enjoyed his no nonsense attitude and I had definitely gotten a good workout in. After yoga, we tried a new-to-me brunch place in WeHo, Basix.

The prices were great for the area – it’s hard to beat $8.50 for an egg white omelette in these parts. I went for a spinach-avocado-chicken apple sausage omelette and an iced coffee. I’ll definitely hit up Basix again, the service and food were both excellent.

Looking forward to a full week ahead! Here’s my workouts from this last week. I am trying to ramp up my cross-training by incorporating swimming into my routine, and work on doing things other than running so that I will actually be a stronger runner. I am eyeing a fall marathon and want to be healthy and strong.

Here’s to a happy, sunny, and healthy Monday 🙂

For my Spain-o-philes…what is your ONE favorite dish? 

the other venice.

27 Jul

Going along with the theme of playing tourist in LA last week, my Dad and I also made a pit-stop in wacky Venice Beach. No, not the Venice whose city is flooding in Italy. Funky, touristy, beach-adjacent Venice.

venetian canals.

not this venice.

It had been years since I’d last been to Venice – which is strange considering I’ve spent a lot more time in neighboring Santa Monica. My Dad had the day off and I wanted to check out a mural my brother talked about – so we headed to Venice.

so-cal's venentian canals.

garlic rolls at C&O Trattoria.

We checked out the murals – all of them appear to be done by one (very talented) artist, R. Cronk. I think it’s cool that street art is incorporated into and sets the vibe of the city!

Venice Reconstituted, 1989, R. Cronk

R. Cronk, self portrait - detail from Venice Beach, 1990

Homage to A Starry Night, 1990

Venice Chorus Line, R. Cronk

We walked around and took in the craziness of the tourist scene: the numerous marijuana “doctors” and eager patients, street performers, weightlifters at Muscle Beach, and of course, people from all walks of life. It was sort of nuts – but if you’re new to LA I can definitely see why it was so appealing. Before we left, I had one final mission.

look carefully...

I’d heard rumors that there was a Space Invader along Ocean Front Walk, so I scanned the area and narrowed in on where I thought it was located. And, lo and behold, there it was, incorporated into the mosaics of the public restroom. Winning!

(damaged) Space Invader in Venice!

So happy I was able to see that – Space Invader is probably my favorite street artist. Overall, Venice was a fun day-trip for my Dad and me – it’s undoubtedly different than that other Venice, but epic in its own right.

Quirky question: Has anyone else visited a city that has a European counterpart? Paris, Texas or anything like that? How did it compare?

gaudí in los angeles?

25 Jul

Last week, my Dad and I did something we’ve wanted to do for a long time – we drove deep into Los Angeles to see the Watts Towers. They’re pretty awesome.

The towers consist of 17 inter-connected structures made by one man: Italian immigrant Simon Rodia, over 33 years (1921-1954). The towers are made with steel pipes and rods, and decorated with bits of tiles, porcelain, and found glass. Some of the glass is from recognizable soda bottles from the era – I spotted many green Canada Dry bottles.

The structures have drawn comparison to Antoní Gaudí’s work in Barcelona – and yes, this is one of (if not the main) reason for me wanting to see the Watts Towers. While the styles are different, there are definite similarities.

Gaudí's La Sagrada Familia

mosaics at Gaudí's Park Guell

Park Guell.

Do you notice the similarities? Or I am so Barcelona-obsessed that I’m making this up?

The Watts Towers were pretty cool – although not as tall as I thought they would be initially.

new obsession: instagram on the iPhone.

My Dad and I were happy to check this off our LA bucket list – it’s cool something like this exists and has been preserved. It was a trek out to Watts, but worth it 🙂

What’s your favorite example of street or outdoor art? 

along colorado blvd.

20 Jul

dork.

Not wanting to be outdone by my mom and my recent trip to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, my Dad and I spent his first day of (much needed) vacation in Pasadena. While we’ve gone many times in the past (and usually make a stop at the frozen yogurt mecca 21 Choices), this time we ventured to the Norton Simon Museum to check out the various art exhibits. We scoped out the exhibits online before committing – and it looked like they had a wide range of art: from Peter Paul Rubens and Francisco de Goya to Degas, Picasso, Van Gogh, Klee,…the list goes on and on.

The museum is located at 411 West Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena – and for a $10 entrance fee total (I got in free with a student ID!) we spent over an hour looking at everything. While I honed in on the Van Goghs and Picassos (my favs), I also added a few new favorite pieces to my list of favorites. Here are some things that stuck out to me…

Head of a Peasant Woman in a White Bonnet, Van Gogh 1885

From the Norton Simon website: “he used working-class laborers for his subject matter because he thought their lives—simple and honest—would “teach something” to the urban bourgeoisie. The color, which is limited to black-infused red, blue, yellow and white, emphasizes the dirtiness of the figure, while the thick impasto reinforces the coarseness of her features. Together with the palette, these elements directly connect her to the earth off which she lived.”

Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier), Van Gogh August 1888

From the Norton Simon website: “Van Gogh believed that this portrait was one of a small group that marked his break from the principles of Impressionism. Instead of using color to achieve a greater naturalism, van Gogh used color subjectively to express emotion.”  

I think it’s pretty interesting how Van Gogh’s portrayal of working class people in the form of portraits varies so drastically in 3 years. I liked the fact I could walk across the room and see the artist’s evolution technique-wise. Additionally, the 2nd painting was completed just months before Van Gogh committed suicide – a part of his life history I have always found tragically interesting.

Mulberry Tree, Van Gogh 1889

The swirling brushstrokes of this Van Gogh was pretty stunning – and quintessentially Van Gogh. This Diego Rivera piece screamed Diego Rivera to me as soon as I walked into the room – and I appreciate Rivera’s use of bold colors.

The Flower Vendor (Girl with Lilies), Diego Rivera 1941

…and here’s a Picasso I love so much it’s currently the background on my iPhone (another thing I love):

Woman with a Book, Picasso 1932

I love how Picasso explored so. many. genres. throughout his career – and this is representative of what is probably my favorite style of his.

St. Jerome in Penetence (1798) by Francisco de Goya

I was surprised to find several examples of Spanish master Francisco de Goya at the Norton Simon – and I’m happy I’ve finally trudged through enough art museums to be able to peg this as Goya before I went up to the little sign and saw that it was!

We checked out the museum gift shop, a special exhibit on 60s pop art, and examined some more classic pieces from as early as the 14th century! We sort of ignored the collection of Asian artifacts – not really our scene – but overall we were really impressed with the enormity (and the quality!) of the museum as well as the gardens outside.

The last piece that really stuck with me was a Vermeer on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art called “Woman with a Lute.” I’ve seen a couple of Vermeers before and have always been struck by his use of light  – and this painting was no exception. There was a security guard standing right next to the work as well as an explicit “no photos” sign so I knew this one was a big deal. It was:

How incredible is that map?? Seeing this makes me want to nerd-out a little harder on Vermeer – so my mom has loaned me the Susan Vreeland novel “Girl in Hyacinth Blue” to read – and I might try to read “Girl With a Pearl Earring” as well. Anyone out there read either of those? Thoughts?

After we left the museum, I used my trusty iPhone’s Yelp app to find a place for my Dad and I to eat lunch. He requested Vegetarian or Vegan food (no, he’s not either of those, but is trying to lean that way apparently) and lo and behold, 0.4 miles away we came across Father Nature’s Lavash Wraps at 17 N De Lacey Avenue. This place was delicious – and inexpensive! Mediterranean food is easily my favorite sort of “ethnic” cuisine – I could literally consume hummus intravenously if that were possible. I ordered something off the beaten path and was overwhelmed by how much I loved it. Now I’m looking for an excuse to go back to Pasadena and find more hidden gems on Colorado Blvd.

Number 13 - Colorful Taboule!

What’s your favorite sort of ethnic cuisine??

statements on state street.

18 Jul

santa barbara museum of art.

Last Saturday, my mom and I spent the afternoon on Santa Barbara’s uber-charming State Street – our first stop was Santa Barbara’s Museum of Art. We’d never been before and were overwhelmed by how much we loved the collections – even though it was a relatively small one! The visting collection is “Van Gogh to Munch” through August 28th – and it featured some pretty stunning works by many big-name impressionists. That wasn’t the only cool collection though – in the other rooms I spotted many of my favorite artists.

Honey is Sweeter than Blood, Salvador Dalí, 1941

I’ve had a fascination with Dalí since I went to Madrid’s Reina Sofia museum for the first time in 2009, and again when I checked out the Dalí museum in Figueres, Catalunya, Spain. So glad this little museum in SB had something of his! I love how quirky and wacky Dalí is – and how is technique is so uniquely his.

Pont St. Michel, 1901 (Matisse)

I loved the colors in this work by Matisse.

Blow Up, 2007, Ori Gersht

The Ori Gersht exhibit (through September 4th) was cool and unique. It’s cool to see where modern art is at currently – and this flower explosion was so innovative technique-wise. It’s hard to believe this was basically a photograph!

Joan Miró work, part of the "Drawn to Modernism" collection.

Like Dalí, I developed a Miró fascination when I first saw his works in Madrid’s Reina Sofia museum, and then again when I saw more of his stuff scattered throughout the city of Barcelona (like his mosaics at the BCN airportthe statue at the Tarragona metro stop, and the walk-over piece on Las Ramblas). Miró is all over Catalunya – you can spot more of his stuff in Mallorca (featured in this week’s NYT article) and there’s a whole museum devoted to him in Barcelona. Again, I was so happy to spot this piece so close to home!

a cool Picasso. love.

The Frugal Repast, 1904, Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso is my favorite artist – and there were more than just these two pieces here! I loved the whimsy of the first piece, and I had learned about the second one during a course I took on Contemporary Art in Barcelona – and it focuses on Picasso’s fascination with the under-belly of society at this time. My obsession with Picasso came to fruition recently during my visit to Barcelona’s Picasso museum.

After checking out the museum, my mom and I headed across the street to our favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara – Arts & Letters Cafe – an adorable café with seating on the patio of an art gallery. The last time I went I was beyond impressed by their Portabello mushroom sandwich – so this time I was stoked to see what else A&L had up their sleeve!

bread + olive oil with cucumber water at Arts & Letters.

tyler salad. grilled chicken breast, romaine lettuce, bacon, blue cheese, avocado, and tomato with café vinaigrette.

This place is incredible. If you’re EVER in Santa Barbara, you need to go here! (My mom’s crab cake sandwich and pumpkin soup was equally incredible). We shopped a bit on State St. and popped into Starbucks before heading home! I lived dangerously and took my friend Amanda’s suggestion to try the new “Very Berry Hibiscus” refresher. I’m a Starbucks supporter – but normally choose coffee (and caffeine). I mean, why not? Last summer I got into their iced tea lemonades, if for no other reason than ordering a “Green Tea Lemonade” forces the barista to write “GTL” on the cup. Fist pump!  This refresher was good, but I’ll probably stick to drinks with more caffeine in the future – but it was definitely refreshing and the real fruit was a good touch.

my very berry hibiscus refresher, my mom's iced coffee, and our cute cupcake box.

We zipped home along the 101 quickly…thank you, Carmageddon!

view from the ride home.

What’s everyone’s favorite thing to do in Santa Barbara? Orrrrr what’s your favorite art museum??