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tripping [chicago].

3 Aug

After the wedding on Sunday, my parents and I had until Thursday to sight-see and take in the city.  First on the agenda was a guided boat cruise of Chicago architecture with everyone who was still in town for the wedding – including the bride and groom!


It was a great tour – Chicago’s architecture is truly the most captivating of any city I’ve been to, at least in the U.S.  We snapped photos and learned about modernism’s “austerity” vs. post-modernism’s “contextualism.”  Cue a new obsession forming for me…I looooove me some post-modernism.


one day married!

After the cruise, a bunch of us went to lunch along the river.  I had a Revolution Anti-Hero IPA.  No, waiter, I will not shy away when you warn me that it’s “pretty hoppy.”  It was excellent.

That evening, my family, Ryan’s family, and Justin’s family headed out to Wrigleyville to watch the lackluster Cubs take on the equally uninspiring Brewers. It was awesome catching  a game in Wrigley – although I do prefer Dodger stadium’s feel.  I had an Old Style and a hot dog, which apparently you’re not supposed to eat with ketchup.  I guess I learned that one the hard way.




Instead of staying at the Hyatt again, my parents rented a brownstone in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood using VRBO.  It was cool to check out a different (adorable) neighborhood and to see the city from a different angle.

On Tuesday, I slept in and may have used the morning to catch up on The Bachelorette, after I had heard the internet exploded.  I have HATEEEED this season.  Des is the least interesting Bachelorette, ever, but reading Reality Steve’s spoilers have kept in mildly interesting.  Once my pop-culture prowess was restored, we set off for more Chicago tourist jaunts.  First up on the list was another deep-dish place, Uno.  Delicioussss. IMG_4289I took my parents by “the bean” and Jay Pritzker Pavilion, my new favorite Frank Gehry piece.  If you haven’t gathered by now, I am FG obsesssssed.  He designed my law school, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Bilbao’s Guggenheim, and a building in Prague I loved (the Fred and Ginger House).  He’s super funky and whimsical, and now when I go to a new city I Google “Frank Gehry” there to make sure I stop by and see whatever it is he’s designed. [Note: I get quite a bit of flack for this, a lot of people think Gehry is “weird.” Nope, I love him].  I am bummed I didn’t make it to an outdoor concert here.  I guess there’s always next time!

IMG_4240Also on Tuesday, we headed to Chicago’s Art Institute.  They had a lot of great pieces, but I was especially drawn to the Van Goghs and Monets.


Monet – Wheat stacks


Monet – Water lilies


Van Gogh – The Drinkers

It was also really great seeing American Gothic and A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte in person as well.

That evening, my parents and I had a couple of drinks on the 96th floor of the John Hancock building.  Although it’s not quite as high as the observation deck on the Willis (formerly known as Sears) Tower, I’d heard the views were far superior.  The views of the city from the Signature Lounge at the John Hancock could truly not be beat. Tip: If you go, make SURE you check out the restrooms.  Some of the best views are in there!

IMG_4309We also hopped around Navy Pier and walked around the city a lot.


On Wednesday, I went on a run to Lincoln Park and then did a little exploring back over by the bean.  One of my law school friends, Greg, gave me a whole list of recommendations (more on that later) so I was determined to check a few of his suggestions off my list.  Later, I met back up with my parents for some more eating + drinks by the river.  My parents ordered a bottle of wine and ended up giving the rest of it to the people at the table next to us, who had *just* finished taking the Illinois bar.  I explained that that will be me in a year and one responded “Oh god, California is THREE DAYS.”  Yupppp.

On Thursday, we left the Brownstone, headed out to one last foodie pit-stop in the West Loop, and made our way to Midway.

It was a fantastic trip, and we tasted some delicious food.  Here’s a quick break-down of my fav eats:

IMG_43421. Revolution Anti-Hero IPA (Chicago, Illinois).  Nice and hoppy. Read: Loooooove.

2. Uno’s Pizza. I later learned this is my friend AK’s favorite pizza place in Chicago.  I asked a few locals what their favorite pizza joint was, and this was always at the top of the list.  It did not disappoint.

3. Raspberry Guacamole at Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill.  This was one of my very favorite things.  It was essentially guac with added raspberries.  It sounded weird at first (my dad was a little shifty-eyed when I suggested it) but the flavors blended together perfectly.  I need to recreate this.  We also tried an out-of-this-world mole tamale and the ceviche was perfect.

4. Intelligentsia Coffee.  This was high up on Greg’s list of recommendations.  Intelligentsia is all over LA, but I had no idea it  originated in Chicago.  In my mind, it’s LA’s answer to SF’s Blue Bottle or Portland’s Stumptown Coffee roasters.  I got a “Summer Solstice” blend to take with me to Millennium Park.  Along with my coffee, I took another of Greg’s suggestions and hit up Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine Bar for a sandwich.  I asked the guy behind the counter what their signature sandwich is and promptly ordered the “Blue Pig ‘n’ Fig” which consisted of serrano ham, figs, arugula, and blue cheese. So good.

5. Churros con chocolate at Rick Bayless’ Xoco.  Next door to Frontera Grill is a smaller Rick Bayless place called Xoco – so obviously we had to go back for dessert.  My churros con chocolate were pretty delicious – but so were my mom’s dulce de leche enchilada and my dad’s ice cream. Nom.

6.  Lou Malnati’s Pizza.  We went back here a second time after the rehearsal dinner and ordered the “chicago classic” which had sausage, was super cheesy, and had a delicious sauce.  I’m not really sure which I liked better – Lou Malnati’s or Uno’s, but I think this dish might have won.

7. Little Goat Bread.  The last place I checked off Greg’s list was Little Goat Bread.  He’d reminded me Stephanie Izard, a past winner of Top Chef, has a James Bead-winning restaurant, The Girl and the Goat, in Chicago.  She also has a small diner (Little Goat Diner) and an even smaller sandwich place called Little Goat Bread.   I had an insanely delectable turkey sandwich, and then went back and grabbed a lemon and chocolate scone and a triple chocolate cookie for my parents.  All were amazing.  We ranked that meal the highlight of the trip.

I was sad to end such a great vacation – but enjoyed my travel classic of ginger ale on the airplane, and powered my way through a new book, aptly about Chicago. (I’m reading The Devil in the White City.)


Alright…let me hear your favorite Chicago places!


hollywood forever.

11 Oct

Oh hey blog world. It’s been awhile. I have a bunch of fun stuff to report from the longest weekend ever.

But first – last night in my Torts II class we were talking about defamation and the internet, and my professor (who is BEYOND eccentric) asked if anyone had a blog. When I replied in the affirmative, he then asked what the title was, why I named it that, what I write about, what the URL is, and if people can leave anonymous comments. I explained all of that as the 25ish kids in my class were all (I’m sure) checking out my blog. One kid even left a comment. Not awkward in the slightest…

This week was SUPER short. I had no class either Monday or Tuesday due to 1L Midterms – so we had “flex days” and my professors decided to cancel class. So essentially…I had a 5 day weekend. Not complaining.

Let’s take it all the way back to a week ago Tuesday – a group of my friends and I headed to Barney’s Beanery for their Trivia night. I ended up blowing it for our team, but we still had a lot of fun, drank a good amount of beer, and even won free nachos.


raffle winnings.

The rest of the week featured a good amount of school work – and a new love: the new DeadMau5 album. SO good.

new deadmau5.

On Thursday night, my friend Chris and I explored Hollywood a little bit. Our first stop was Dillon’s Irish Pub for $3 pints (Hellooooo Racer 5 IPA).

Next up was Angels and Kings – which just so happens to be owned by Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz. Not exactly either of our scene, but the place was cool. How do you not love antlers ending in guns? Or old school emo music blaring? Or at least Lagunitas IPA? There we go…Also, this bar apparently has a Barcelona location. Sign. Me. Up.

Then we wandered around for a bit…sort of looking for food but failing.

Don’t worry, my feet are officially bigger than every actress’ at Grauman’s. Donald will have to do.

Before finally getting food, we were stopped by people from a YouTube channel called “Cartoon Hangover” who were filming randos on the street about their worst hangover ever. We signed some shantily created contract and they filmed us. Best part? Some girl screaming “You can’t turn a whore into a housewife” (presumably at me) as cameras were rolling. Awesome.

Friday I did a bunch of work and some yoga and went to bed early. Oh, but first I went to coffee with Jenn’s boyfriend, Daniel. Scandalous, I know.

Saturday morning featured a catch-up/gab-fest with my blog friend turned real life friend, Katherine, who blogs over at Left Coast Contessa. She just took the bar in July so it was awesome to hear about that as well as about her post law school  life. We met up to take a SoulCycle class at their new Brentwood location. I’ve blogged about my obsession with SoulCycle before  and this time was no different. Desperate Housewives’ Marcia Cross was in our class! Afterward we relaxed over brunch at the Coral Tree Cafe across the street. Such a fun morning!

Later that night I joined Jenn and a whole gaggle of her high school friends at Montrose’s delightful little Oktoberfest. First, though, we had brats and beers at her friend Kyle’s house – who dressed up in full lederhosen regalia for the event. I found a beer I like that isn’t an IPA. WIN!

Sunday…hmm. I ran 9 crappy miles in the morning. Felt beat and tired and just blah the whole time, which is GREAT considering I am running the NWM 13.1 on Sunday. Beautiful.

Later, I went to school (awesome) and met up with Taylor to head over to a team dinner for a moot court we’re both on. It turned out that our Professor/advisor gave all of the team members the wrong date for the event, so after 30 minutes of standing around and wondering where everyone was, we all left. Free dinner fail. I was in a weird mood and NEEDED to get out of my apartment. Luckily, the night was salvaged by a last-minute invite to go see The Grove to see Taken 2, where I ran into my old friend from 4th grade, Jaya. I hadn’t seen Taken, but was down to leave the house and surprisingly really liked it! Suspenseful and actiony, but easier to follow than most movies in that genre.

Monday I vowed to stay the heck away from campus, so I studied for a bit at a cafe Armita loves, called Stir Crazy on Melrose. This guy in front of me was doing some sort of podcasting mixing/DJ’ing. So cool.


This Tuesday featured more trivia – this time with Armita, Aviva, Chris, Jenn, and Michael Driscoll (YESSS). Jenn caved and made pancakes when we got back. My strawberry chopping skills were quickly deemed insufficient. Fail.

midnight pancakes.

Two days of school this week…still were two too many. Ethical Lawyering will be the death of me.

This weekend my mom and I are driving up to SF for the weekend! 13.1, friends, and extended family!

Have a great weekend everyone!

studying in the city.

4 Mar

If you follow me on twitter, you know by now that I have a midterm tomorrow morning in the law school classic – Torts! I’ve been studying pretty hard for the last week or so (practice questions, memorizing elements, etc.) and have been blathering on about “res ipsa loquitur” and the difference between battery and assault to anyone who will listen for days. It’s clearly helping me make new friends.

Anyway, in an effort to continue to explore LA and break up the study routine, I’ve found two new cafés near me (actually between school and where I live) that are very study-friendly.

My absolute FAVORITE is on Larchmont Blvd., called Bricks & Scones. The food and drinks are delicious (although a little on the pricey side). I particularly enjoyed their almond milk latte and their fruit and nut scone. The interior is awesome – it looks like what you’d imagine the residence halls of Hogwarts to look like. There is a big area conducive to studying downstairs, with even more room up a spiral staircase. I’ve been here 3-4 times in the last week or so, and it’s a great excuse for me to explore a new area. I love how cute Larchmont is!

blueberry scone.

chocolate and fruit&nut scone. Half an hour before closing it was BOGO!

Seriously…how could you NOT want to study here? It’s also social – people talk at the tables downstairs and outside, but it’s definitely quiet enough to get some solid work done.

My other new fav place is Café Insomnia on Beverly at Poinsettia – it’s open late and reminds me of a quintessential college-town café (reminiscing about Berkeley, anyone?) I enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate on Tuesday night after a great spin class. Efficiency at its finest!


My fellow Angelenos – where’s your favorite place to study? Favorite coffee shop in general?

kings and i.

12 Nov

Last night I broke my go to bed early on Friday nights to wake up early to run habit! My friend Jeff was in town after finishing up his first semester of med school and wanted to go out in Santa Monica, so I promised him about a week ago that we’d hit up a couple of bars on Main Street. I had never gone out there before and it was a lot of fun and definitely a different vibe. Our first stop was O’Brien’s where a delicious Stone IPA was consumed.

a rainy and cold friday night.

Later we headed over to Rick’s Tavern on Main. I relived college with a Pyramid Hef. Oh…college.

Whitney and I split a bean and cheese burrito (beyond delicious) from Holy Guacamole. Sometimes Whitney has the best ideas ever. This was one of them.

This morning I decided to sleep in and miss my weekly workout with the LA Leggers – but my friend Emily and I had made plans to run this morning! We did over 5 miles together along Beverly, to Santa Monica, and then to Fairfax and back. It was so nice having someone to run with! After our run, we met back up with a few more friends to go to our fav local breakfast joint: King’s Road Café!

way too many delicious options.

Emily + her iced latte.

my decision: poached eggs with black forest ham and fontina cheese. dee-lish.

my iced coffee.

post-brunch dessert? why not!

Kings was a great leisurely start to my Saturday – before I headed to the library to crank out some work – yay for self-defense (crim), takings (Property) and negligent transmission of HIV in California (Legal Research and Writing).

Now, my roommate Jenn and I are unwinding with a 90s classic – Never Been Kissed and I’m making a playlist for my 10k tomorrow!  Have a great rest of your weekend, everyone!

What’s your favorite thing to order at a restaurant for breakfast?

I normally go savory if I’m having breakfast out – eggs or an omelette – but if someone’s cooking for me, I’m a bigger fan of the sweeter variety – pancakes, french toast, or waffles. Weird how that is.


beer, friends, a comedian, and an emmy award winner…

6 Nov

…were all involved in my Saturday night!

Last night some of my friends and I headed to the Universal City Walk area for dinner on Cahuenga at Henry’s Hat. Since we’re not in Spain and people eat dinner here at a “normal” time – we got to take advantage of Happy Hour prices! That meant 2 apps for $15 and 2 for 1 beverages!! Pitchers here we come!

the exterior from the interior.

Andrea, AK, and Emily. Also known as "Team Blue Moon." I'll keep my opinions to myself.

bryan, me, matt. I guess you could call us "Arrogant Bastards"?

I’m sort of a beer snob. I don’t like really foamy, light, “girly” beers like Blondes or Belgian Whites (#sorryimnotsorry) and prefer IPAs, Hefs, and Ambers. This works out for me perfectly because normally people take my suggestions beer-wise and I can con my guy-friends into going in on pitchers of the dark stuff for fear of feeling inferior. Win.

i heart happy hour.

Enough about my obsessive beer antics. Round two involved a Green Flash and something with the word “Delirium” in it. It was floral – good but not my scene. Anyway. We also consumed a mushroom pizetta (good but not great) and chips con queso (bomb). I forgot to take pictures of those, probably because I was ravenous (thank you, 14 miler!!)

The main event for me was the Steak Salad – it was delicious, although not super inventive: steak, arugula, and radishes.

my first thought: why is this bowl so weird? no points for presentation, Henry's Hat.

The most random part of the night? Spotting Melissa McCarthy a table over! She was super down-to-earth when Emily tapped her on the shoulder and said we were all fans. She was HILARIOUS on SNL, but I still have yet to see Bridesmaids. Whoops!

Next up on the agenda was hustling over to CityWalk to see Bill Maher at the Gibson Amphitheater.

my fav landmark on citywalk.

Bill was hilarious – he did a 90 minute set running the gamut from how stupid religion is to how dumb the tea party is (as he lovingly refers to as “tea-baggers.”) I loved his movie Religulous that came out a few years ago, so I was happy he was as funny and pointed in person.

my buddies.

After the show I had to satisfy the sweet tooth at the touristy, over-priced classic of Ben & Jerry’s. I tried two new-to-me-flavors: 7-Layer Coconut Bar and Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz. Both were excellent.

i know, i need a manicure.

After that, I came home and fell asleep exactly 8 minutes after I got home.

I woke up at 8 (heck yes, Daylight Savings Time!!) and used up my last day of free membership at my local 24 Hour Fitness. Tomorrow I will be mourning my loss, and quickly trying to find a new gym. I took a yoga class and jumped on the treadmill for a few miles (gotta log those miles for Pile on the Miles!) I watched NBC’s coverage of the NYC ING Marathon and tracked some of the athletes/bloggers/celebs I was following when I got home.

I was hoping SR would beat Apollo Ohno. Drat.

I am anxious to do a marathon…I know I have a long way to go, but I’m excited for the upcoming experience.

In other news – I hit the library for a bit today (#rage) and then studied a bit at home. In an effort to save a little bit of money, I drove past the ‘Bux and instead attempted to recreate a Mocha at home!

look at that steam!

In the mug: 1 cup of blue bottle coffee, one tablespoon hot cocoa powder, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a tiny drop of vanilla extract, and a dash of milk!

Not quite Howard Schultz approved, but pretty good for basically free!

Hope everyone has a great week!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

sf weekend.

16 Oct

What a whirlwind of a weekend! On Saturday morning, bright and early, my parents and I drove up to San Francisco – where I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon this morning! I’ll save the full race re-cap for a separate post, but I wanted to share how the rest of the weekend went!

We bolted up the 5 and hit up our favorite Starbucks along the way – and after spending 45 minutes waiting to get across the Bay Bridge we made it to our hotel. We stayed at the Pickwick Hotel at 5th and Mission – conveniently located about 3-4 blocks from the race start at Union Square and less than a block away from a Blue Bottle Coffee location.

After picking up my bib at the “Expotique” I finished up my Memo for school (due tonight) and submitted it, and then briefly met up with my friend Alia who lives in the city!

pre-race packet pick up.

union square

Then, my parents and I went out to dinner with my aunt and uncle at Market Bar at the Ferry Building.

walking to dinner.

an IPA straight outta Berkeley. seemed appropriate.

fig, bacon, and arugula flatbread. #sogood

I was so lucky that one of my best friends from my sorority, Kate, and her boyfriend who I had yet to meet, Ben, dropped by for a drink – and we ended up convincing them to stay for dinner! It’s alway so nice for me anytime I get to spend time with Kate, and it was so fun bonding over study abroad memories and Girl Talk with Ben!

We walked back to our hotel and hit the hay at an embarrassingly early hour – 6 am came mighty early this morning!

I’ll save my race re-cap for tomorrow but here is the mono-syllabic summary: good course, fun day, went out WAY WAY WAY too fact for the first half, great necklace, Nike is legit, and I love SF.

On our way back down the 5 I did something I NEVER do – I ate fast food! and lived to tell about it. Some of this also occurred:



Thank you to everyone who wished me luck/congratulated me on the race – it meant a lot! Also, special thank you to Alia, Kate, and my Aunt and Uncle :).


8 Oct

I have jumped on the pumpkin spice party train. Ever since the calendar rolled over to October, I have been indulging my cravings at every turn. I’m sure I’ll get over this fall obsession before you can say “November” but until then, I thought I’d share some things I’m currently pump’d about…

iced Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks.

It hasn’t been consistently cold enough yet in LA to venture to the hot variety…

pumpkin bread.

oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins, canned pumpkin, walnuts, and coconut. best. breakfast. ev-ah.

pumpkin cake batter cupcakes with cinnamon sugar icing.

[I got this recipe from a blog I follow, Girl Meets Life. It was super easy – and the pumpkin flavor tastes great but isn’t over powering].

my biggest October guilty pleasure.

And finally…

Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale.

One of my very favorite blogs, Carrots n Cake, has done a series of posts about all of the Pumpkin Ales she has tried near her home in Boston. While I have yet to see a Pumpkin Ale on tap at any bar out here (but then again, my bar-going has been limited due to that whole “school” thing), when I saw a 6-pack of this at Pavillions last weekend, I had to try it.

I’m not normally a HUGE fan of Blue Moon – it’s a little too sweet for me, so I was hoping this version would give it some spice. I appreciated the seasonal attempt from Blue Moon, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly pumpkin-y. In fact, it tasted just like normal Blue Moon! Fail.

I am determined to find a Pumpkin Ale I LOVE before the season ends. . .

What are your favorite pumpkin foods/drinks this October?