Thursday, February 27, 2014

California Dreamin'



This past weekend, I went to California for the very first time! We were only there from Friday to Monday and we fit so much into our trip! We stayed in Santa Monica, making trips to Venice, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Burbank, and Universal City. Yes, all in 3 1/2 days.

Now that I'm back in 7 degree Chicago, I need to reminisce, so I figured a blog post full of pictures of warm weather would make my heart happy.

Here was our trip in a nutshell:


Our hotel was the Ambrose in Santa Monica. I dubbed it a "modern vintage" hotel - it was eco-friendly, yet had "old school" TVs and wooden TV cabinets... It was really nice nonetheless, and we were easily the youngest couple in the place until the day we checked out. 


Right after we landed, our first means of business was eating a tasty cheeseburger from In-&-Out Burger! Jason had been to Cali before, so he told me this was a must. I admit it was pretty delicious for a fast food burger, and a meal there was cheaper than any meal I could ever get at McDonald's (not that I would actually eat a burger at McDonald's!).


Our first destination was the Venice Beach Boardwalk to explore the surf and skate culture it's best known for. It was really foggy that day on the beach, so we didn't spend too much time there before heading to our hotel. We made a point to go back to the Boardwalk for souvenirs the last day in town, on our way to the airport. I got to take lots of pictures of the palm trees and graffiti art, too!


Hollywood is honestly NOT that exciting. It reminded me of a cross between Times Square and Wisconsin Dells. Lots of people, very little space, and tons of cheap t-shirts that will fall apart before you get home. I did like seeing the Walk of Fame, I thought that was cool, but I don't imagine taking the time to go there again.


Car stalking in Beverly Hills is AWESOME. We saw loads of pretty Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and even a Bugatti. I'm also positive I saw a Real Housewife of Miami there, even though that sounds crazy.


Santa Monica Pier and the beach there is gorgeous. If I could live there, I would, no questions asked.


My favorite part of the trip was our tour of Warner Bros. Studios. Our guide took us on the set of the Big Bang Theory AND took us into the archives to take pictures of the real Central Perk. We got to sit on the couch and everything! We also saw all of the Batmobiles from the different Batman movies!! Yay! FUN FACT: The cast of "Entourage" filmed a scene for their new movie on the patio where our photos above were taken!


The Third Street Promenade was a fabulous shopping strip, similar to Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. Jason is convinced he saw James Marsden, but who knows!? We also went to the Grove and Century City Mall in L.A., a mall in Downtown Burbank, and Universal CityWalk. Lots of shopping on our trip!


The Coffee Bean is so good, I wish we had those in Chicago. Starbucks gets old after a while! We made a trip there everyday! I loved their Iced Coffees.


Cliff driving is dangerous, especially when it's accidental! We took the first route that came up on our GPS driving from Beverly Hills to Universal City, and that was a mistake. We literally drive through Canyon Park, with L.A. 6,000 feet below us. I'm not even exaggerating. It was terrifying. Gorgeous photo, though, no?


Rusty Mullet, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Redwood Grille, On The Waterfront Cafe, The Sidewalk Cafe... Yummy! The Bloody Mary above, from Rusty Mullet, had bacon in it. BACON! I also managed to try 5 craft beers between Karl Strauss and On The Waterfront.


More photos to come! 
In the meantime, visit my Instagram! {@whatevs_heath}


Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Club: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?


A few months back, I found Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? at Target. In case you've been living under a rock, Mindy Kaling, who was an actress and writer on The Office, is now the star of her own comedy series on FOX called The Mindy Project.

At first, it was a rocky start. I bought IEHOWM (quite possibly the longest acronym ever) right before my wedding, while I had a thousand things on my mind and was still busy planning and paying for everything. I just didn't have the time or interest to get into it. Once Christmas was over, I got back into it. I am SO glad I picked it back up! 

This read is so easy. It's even easier when you read in Mindy's voice. It's like reading a letter from your best friend, or a book after seeing the movie. You read it in character, and it flies by, and you wish it wouldn't end. That was exactly this book in a nutshell.

Rather than boring you with a "book review" raving about how amazing this little memoir is, I've decided a list would be not only better, but in character to the book. Read on.

 

7 Reasons Why Mindy Kaling Should Be Hanging Out With Me

7. I will totally watch every episode ever of SNL with you while we eat cupcakes that you are not asked to tweet about.

6. I love The Office, and you co-wrote The Office, so obviously that means I love you, too, and haven't even met you. 

5. Irish exits are my thing, so I won't judge you if you leave my party unannounced. I'll probably leave my own party, too.

4. I'll let you borrow all of my clothes and I won't even make you replace it if you ruin it. Hell, you can keep it.

3. I totally agree that men put on their shoes too slowly. They put on their socks even slower.

2. I would love to co-write Apples to Apples 4D if you're going to write it. Throwing apples at strangers might be too much, but maybe we can pour apple juice instead.

1. Simply put, between your crazy ideas and hilarious observations, I'm pretty sure you are my long lost best friend.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Evolution Fresh... Juicing at Starbucks!


I'm a huge fan of Starbucks, that's no lie. When I got an email that the chain was going to be carrying all-natural juice blends, I couldn't be happier!

This past week, I tried the { Evolution Fresh Sweet Greens and Lemon Juice }. The drink was pretty flavorful, made of celery, apple, cucumber, spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, lime, lemon, parsley, wheat grass, and clover sprout juices. I was thrilled when I looked at the ingredients and there were NO additives whatsoever. It was also only 100 calories for the 15.2 oz. bottle, and very low in sodium, which is a huge plus.

What I wasn't thrilled about... the price. Now, I'm honestly not sure how much exactly this little bottle was. I bought this and a Greek Yogurt parfait (which I know the yogurt costs less than $4), and my total was over $10! At least $5 for this bottle? A little crazy, even for Starbucks, especially knowing that Jamba Juice is not far down the street... But I guess that's the price you pay when you want to drink right!

Would you pay $5 for a bottled juice?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Foodie Friday: Breakfast Burrito... For Dinner!


Every now and then, Jason and I like to have breakfast for dinner. What better than a hearty breakfast burrito?

Now, I know you don't need a formal recipe for this, it's pretty self-explanatory, so let me just tell you what's in it:

Breakfast Burrito

> A delicious La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Tomato Basil Tortilla

> An omelette (yes, I spell it like the French because that's the only way I know how) made with 2 large eggs, sauteed fresh spinach, and low-fat Mexican cheese

> Tabasco sauce, jalapenos, AND salsa (because we like it hot)

Wrap it all up and serve alongside your favorite side! Some yummy roasted potatoes would've been a perfect choice, but since we are "eating healthy," we went with a steamed roasted corn-black bean blend from the freezer section of our favorite grocery store.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Vintage Book... Or Brand New Journal?


I'm a total believer that you don't find the perfect journal... It finds you!

This journal found me at { Stumble & Relish }.

It was a recycled vintage book, bound holding lots and lots of pages... Something I can easily "mold" into what I want it to be. It was exactly what I needed to complete #47 of { 101 Things In 1001 Days}! 

Plus, inside, there was a short note from the person that made it, Frannyjoyce, that said:
In 1963 this book was originally bound,
now lovingly made new so that your story may be found.
What does your journal look like?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's In My Bag?

Everyone always has those cliche "what's in your bag?" posts, and honestly, it's about time I had one. I like those. I always love seeing what's in other people's bags... What's better is that every piece has a story!

Let's begin.....


First of all, my purse is brand new! It was my "accidental" Christmas present. Let me elaborate. Jason bought me these beautiful Kristin Cavallari by Chinese Laundry booties that unfortunately just did NOT fit right. So what's a girl to do? Stroll through Nordstrom's clearance bags. And there was this beautiful Kate Spade satchel/crossbody bag. It was mine about 5 minutes later.

Anywho, you don't really care about that, you care about what's IN my bag, right? ;)

Admittedly, I am not the kind of girl that touches up her makeup all day. I don't carry a brush either... But here is what I do have:

1) Orla Kiely wallet - my Christmas gift from my boss. It's ah-mazing, isn't it?

2) Dooney & Bourke change purse - my aunt bought me this while on a trip to Florida. It has come in handy for at least 5 years already. Holds change well, and acts as a makeshift wallet on those days my wallet doesn't fit in my bag!

3) Ralph Lauren sunglasses - My birthday present to myself on my 19th birthday. Or was it 18?

4) iPhone charger - Why wouldn't I have this essential in my bag?

5) Red notebook - This notebook is my food diary. I've been keeping track of my eats religiously for the past week. (Yes, I just started!) The notebook was a gift from my boss from when she went to Cannes and Paris last summer. I was trรจs jealous so she brought me back a gift bag of goodies!

And finally...

6) Bakker pencil case - Because every girl has a bag within a bag. This little pouch has got everything. Lip gloss, eye drops, pens, band-aids, chapstick, an extra car key... If it fits, it's in. The best part? I bought this guy at the children's store I manage! It's straight from France.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

January on Instagram


January was quite the month, shown so accurately on Instagram. Let's take a look..

  • It was so cold in Chicago that my nail polish froze. My nail polish was INDOORS.
  • I started my very first Coursera class! I spend about 3 hours a week reading, watching lectures, and taking notes for Subsistence Marketplaces. It's hosted by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor, Madhu Viswanathan. It's an excellent class... and it's FREE!
  • I enjoyed a couple fabulous Mimosas on New Year's Day. 
  • I read The Happiness Project. I wrote a review on it yesterday! { read it here }
  • After a long hiatus from studying french, I've decided to do something about it! I've been using Duolingo. Can't wait 'til I'm fluent and can start my next language! :)
  • I've been working my butt off at lollie!
  • Prints, prints, prints. Adding color to my daily outfits is such a priority when it's as dreary as it is outside!
  • We went to Longhorn Steakhouse a couple of weeks ago, and they have this new drink called Angry Apple Stag. It's amazing.
  • That weather report is not anywhere near the coldest it has been in Chicago. -6 degrees has been a regular temperature.
  • See that cute ornament? A friend made that for us, using a glass ornament and our wedding invitation!
  • My list of 101 Things in 1001 Days has taken over my life in SUCH a good way... { read it here }
  • "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" Oh God, I hope not.
  • That empty pizza box is the result of our diet gone well for way too long. Jason and I ordered a 14" pizza (Ugh.... Well, I guess it's better than 18") and devoured it in about 10 minutes.
  • Coffee was the chosen beverage of January.
  • I loved making my orange beaded necklace! { see it here }
  • Fun gifts from my sweetheart and a back ordered Christmas gift from my sister-in-laws made me really happy!
See more photos on Instagram! Follow me @whatevs_heath
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