Thursday, May 31, 2012

Quick Highlights from Monterey & Carmel

Over spring break, I spent very little time in Monterey (probably for the best) and even less time in Carmel (definitely a missed opportunity). Although Monterey is kind of "meh," one highlight was this really tasty restaurant that we ate at the first night: the Montrio Bistro. A lot of the other restaurants in Monterey are over-priced, tourist-targeting seafood houses. You can definitely skip them despite the high ratings on Yelp. Check out Montrio Bistro instead. It's got an interesting menu and equally interesting decor. The other highlight of Monterey was the sea lions. Do sea lions ever get old? They're just so adorably chubby! I was especially fond of the one in the far right corner who is resting his head on his own back. That is flexibility.

The highlights of Carmel, on the other hand, are just about everything. Such good shopping for art and home goods and clothes. Such cute inns to stay at. And such great pizza! I grabbed a butternut squash pizza pie to go from La Bicyclette on our way out of town. It was so good that it was almost gone by the time we got back on the highway (which was only about 5 minutes down the road). Carmel is now on my mental list of places that I absolutely have to come back to. I can send the boyfriend off to golf all day while I browse the boutiques and wander down alleys!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

17 Mile Drive

You wouldn't know I live in Los Angeles with all my adventures to other parts of California these days. Here's yet another. Over spring break, my travel buddy and I did the 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach. Parts were stunning, parts were kind of boring, and all of it was very, very cold. I'm not sure if I would recommend it in March, maybe wait for balmier weather? Not that the bitter wind stopped anyone from golfing! The highlight was all of the the sea lions and seals. We actually got really close to a few seals swimming by the beach (see terrible picture above)!

Just a note: there's a $10 fee to access the road. (We did no research and did not know this.) But if you eat at any of the golf clubs (and by "any" I mean the 2 that are open to the public), they will take the $10 off of your lunch. We ate at the Inn & Links at Spanish Bay. There's 2 restaurants there, and luckily one is a not-totally-outrageously-priced sports bar. If that is not baller enough for you, feel free to continue to the last stop, the Lodge at Pebble Beach, instead.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back from Yosemite

I'm back from Yosemite, and boy did I miss civilization. Yosemite is jaw droppingly beautiful, but for someone who does not stay in very good hiking shape, it was no small feat to get to all of those vista points. It wasn't so much the uphill that did me in as it was the downhill. Your toes and knees just buckle under the constant pressure of walking downhill if you are not used to it. Also I realized that I'm not really the camping type. We stayed in a cabin-like structure with 3 permanent walls and one tent wall. And one day when we were gone, a squirrel came in and ate my crossword puzzle. Seriously. There was no food to get (that's locked up in the bear lockers), just a newspaper sitting on my bed, and this stupid squirrel with his dirty little feet ran all over our beds leaving chewed up bits of my crossword everywhere.

But despite all of the pain and annoyances, I would not trade the experience. You cannot beat driving away to sunrise views like these. Looking down into a valley wedged between gigantic granite peaks as the sun begins to spill over it makes you feel like you're looking upon a little piece of perfection hidden on Earth. (Just ignore the tour bus unloading 60 or so Japanese visitors right next to you.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hearst Castle Part II: The Interior

So while I'm in the midst of another trip, I should finish up telling you about my spring break trip! Here's part 2 of a glimpse into the Hearst Castle: the interior. (In case you forgot--and it's totally OK if you did since it's been 2+ weeks-- here's Hearst Castle Part I: The Exterior.) My friend and I took the upstairs tour. You get to see a ton of bedrooms (including Heart's bedroom and the bedroom of his mistress), the library, and Hearst's office.

My favorite part of all the rooms was the ceilings. They were all imported from various parts of Europe. Hearst was lucky in the sense that he happened to be building when the war-ravaged European countries were in greater need of cash than maintaining their heritage. Art and architecture were easily obtainable for the right amount back then. The most impressive ceiling in the collection was the one in Hearst's bedroom (pictures 17 and 18), which is allegedly the last complete Moorish ceiling in the world, dating back to the 14th century. The tour guide said that no other interior ceiling from that culture has survived. Who knows if it's true, but it makes you feel special when you're looking at it!

Some other interesting tidbits: the library (in the first 3 pictures) has the largest US collection of Greek pottery outside of the Met in NY. And the only reason the Met has more is because Hearst donated over half his collection there! Pictures 12 and 13 are not a chapel. That's Hearst's private "office." It sure makes my Ikea desk look lame. The picture of the right side of the picture 14-15 duo looks like a music sheet lamp shade. Turns out that's exactly what it is. Hearst took pages from old monk chant books and repurposed them as lamp shades. He was ahead of the upcycling trend by like 75 years! Finally, pictures 19 and 20 are ridiculously fabulous the indoor pool underneath the tennis courts. In case the outdoor pool was just not fabulous enough!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Off to Yosemite!

Ansel Adams photo of the Half Dome in Yosemite via here.

So I realize that (A) I never finished telling you about my road trip up the coast, (B) I haven't even started telling you about all the fun travels and events from graduation, and (C) I'm truly lacking on posts about all the stuff I've been up to in between. But I'm off on another trip! This week I'll be hiking Yosemite with my friend Julia, one of my ultimate hiking buddies from my 2011 spring break trip where we went here and here and here. She's a pro hiker, so I'm super excited to go with her. I know she'll take me to the best trails. I've loaded up some posts for the week to keep you entertained since internet in Yosemite is pretty limited, but I'll be back next week. Wish me luck staying warm in our tent at night!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy Friday!

A shot of my toes enjoying the rose gardens by the Santa Barbara mission.

Happy Friday indeed! I'm ready for the weekend. After going straight from finals, to graduation, to Santa Barbara, to studying for the bar, I've decided to take today to just calmly hang out by myself. I'm going to catch up on my papers, watch the season finale of Gossip Girl that I missed, and sort through the hundreds of photos I took over graduation weekend. On Monday I'm off again on another trip (Yosemite!), so I'm going to make sure to enjoy a leisurely weekend. What do you all have planned? Anything fun?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hola Long Lost Friends!

I'm sorry to have abandoned you for the past week, but I was a wee bit busy FINISHING LAW SCHOOL! Yes yes. It's done. But you know what is even better than walking out of the last final you will ever take? Realizing how wonderful and supportive your family and friends are. My best friend came out for the ceremony. My little brother got on a plane to LA literally hours after he finished his own finals. My girl friends in DC sent me a spa gift card and chocolates (I needed both). My parents took me out to the most delicious restaurants and acted as my designated driver when I wanted to get tipsy wine tasting. My boyfriend's parents sent me a beautiful engraved pen commemorating the moment. I'm just so overwhelmed by it all. So yeah congrats to me for finishing. But even more than that, thank you to my family, friends, boyfriend, and everyone else (Laura! The Ruttles! The Larsons!) for your support this weekend and over the past 3 years. I could not have done it without you.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Perfect Paris Dress

Have I mentioned that I'm going to Paris this summer?! If you ever gander at my Pinterest, I'm sure you've seen the ample of amount of Paris-themed pins I've added lately. One night while stumbling around Francophile pins, I came across the above stunning image of Jane Birkin. If anyone is the queen of French-chic, it is her. And now I'm dying for a simple white dress that strikes the perfect balance between conservative and fun for my trip this summer. I'm kind of liking the three options below, but if you see something else adorable, let me know!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy Friday!

Just a sampling of what's been added to the Recipes and Reviews pages!

Happy Friday friends! There is so much exciting stuff going on, I almost don't know where to start! 

First, I've gotten around to a lot of blog maintenance while procrastinating on my studying. I made two new pages recently. One for recipes and one for trends. My goal is to make these two topics into regular series. I also went back into the archives and added all of my recent restaurant posts to the reviews page, so check that out too! There are some good meals worth revisiting.

 Also, it's officially ONE WEEK until I graduate! It's hard to believe that law school is over. (Almost. Damn you Trademark exam that was scheduled the day before graduation!) I remember my first year so clearly. I never slept. I was stressed to the point of constant tears. I felt like that year would never end. And now it feels like that was a life time ago. But I've still got 1.5 more finals to go, so I'll have to hold off on my serious reflecting for right now. Everyone is arriving on Wednesday and Thursday, so I'll be spending this weekend prepping for my guests! That means fresh flowers, homemade baked goods, and a deep apartment cleaning are all on my to do list.

Also on my to do list this weekend is the Melrose Trading Post! My new flea market partner-in-crime loves this market and suggested I check it out with her. I've never been, but I'm very excited. I'm on the hunt for reasonably priced vintage suitcases. (It's shocking how much people try to charge for old suitcases. I know they're trendy, but really?) I'm want to use them as a side table like this. I was so successful at the Rose Bowl flea with finding my rollaway bar, so keep your fingers crossed I'll have equally good luck here!

Well enough about me! What are you up to this weekend?!

UPDATE: I totally didn't realize tomorrow was Cinquo de Mayo. Will you be celebrating? I think I'm going to have to add fish tacos and tequila sunrises to my weekend plans!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hearst Castle Part 1: The Exterior

Remember when I was like, "Get excited for my post about the Hearst Castle up next!"? And then remember when 3 weeks went by and I never shared my pictures from the Hearst Castle? I'd like to say I was super busy getting ready for finals, but to be honest, I was probably watching DS9 marathons. (Netflix instant streaming is dangerous.) But I've finally gotten around to sorting through the hundreds of pictures I took, and I've put together some of my favorite exterior shots! The Hearst Castle grounds are so beautiful in the most decadent of ways. It made me yearn for a life full of incredibly fabulous garden parties and champagne for breakfast by the pool. Ah! One can dream. The trip wasn't all day dreaming, though; there was some learning, like:
  • Did you know construction continued continuously from 1919 to 1947?
  • And the entire exterior, while it may look like stone/bricks, is made of giant slabs of concrete. The base concrete is covered with sort of bleached exterior pieces of concrete. And those are carved to give the stone/brick look.
  • Also, the Castle has 3 villas, which were actually built first. The villa are named after their view, like Casa del Mar or Casa del Sol.
  • And the Neptune pool was built 3 times before Hearst was satisfied with this final version. Yikes! Picky guy.
PS: You can go on night tours where all the docents dress up like they are from the 1920s! And the guests are encouraged to dress up too! I didn't know about this until I went, but now I'm dying to go back for a night tour. If they would just throw a murder mystery into the mix, it would be just like Clue!