8.23.2013

new adventures!

Hello, hello! Long time no see. I generally get lazy in the summertime, but I really kicked it up a notch this year.

In fact, me and my little slice of the web here are kind of tired. It's been a fun 5 years, but life has changed so much that my world doesn't feel like "simply shannyn" anymore. I considered a blog name change, but instead, D and I cooked up a whole new blog adventure for the both of us. So for now and maybe here on out, that's where I'll be! Follow along with our (mis)adventures over at Yatesford Reserve.

Cheers!

7.03.2013

summer jams.

I set out to just make a July mix, but got super carried away. So, this obnoxious playlist is what I'm going to be jamming to for the rest of the summer. Will edit if the mood strikes. Set to shuffle and enjoy with me!

Can't wait to get the long holiday weekend started! Cheers, 'Merica!

(image via)

6.28.2013

Iowa.

Last weekend, I headed to the great state of Iowa to spend quality time with my best girl. If I trekked across an ocean to visit her while she was studying abroad in college, I certainly owed her this, right?

Well let me tell you...midwestern weather is a fickle bitch in the summer months. Anyone from the midwest laughing at me yet? Yes, this California girl has begun to adjust to New York winters, but midwest summers are going to take substantially more getting used to.

Friday morning I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 3:15am to finish packing, shower, and catch my 6am flight. It was not nearly as painful as I expected it to be, and even the 45 minute Starbucks line at the airport didn't get me down (and was actually kind of amusing).

And then.

And then.

Chicago.

As if Chicago couldn't be enough on my shit list this week, a killer electrical storm rolled through town, about 30 minutes after arrival and an hour before my flight to Cedar Rapids. At first, I was feeling ok. The fact is, flying makes me neurotic enough without getting onto a prop jet in sideways rain and lightning storms. So I was game to wait it out. But then, all flights were grounded. For an hour and a half. Just enough time for it to wreak havoc on every unfortunate O'Hare traveler. Flight to Cedar Rapids: cancelled.

Storm & airport sustenance:

I won't bother launching into the next frantic few hours, but it ends with me on a plane to Waterloo, Iowa. Haven't heard of an airport there? Neither had I. Neither did a guy re-booked on it, too - and he's FROM IOWA. Basically, I am convinced that it is the smallest commercial airport in the US, with one solitary gate.

Once I got there, though, it was best friend weekend extraordinaire, and a wonderful - if not way too short - 3 days.

All of Iowa summed up in 2 pictures:

Friends!:

You have no idea how funny this sign is until you stumble upon it at 2am after a night of drinking:

I had to do one supremely nerdy thing. Obviously:

(It was behind this random "shop." Riverside, Iowa...you're an oddball):

Thanks for the hospitality, Iowa!

6.17.2013

New Digs Update.

Has it really been a month since we moved into the new place? Time it is a-flying. We've been working hard (aka spending our hard earned cash) organizing, buying new furniture; basically, trying to turn our new space into a home. It's a process. Patience has never been a virtue of mine.

I am addicted to home decor blogs and especially home tours, but one thing I'm always perplexed by is how feminine some spaces are for a married couple. I admit while there are certain pieces I drool over big time, I wouldn't feel right bringing pink walls or many overly delicate pieces into our place. It always makes me think of Big and Natasha and their beige apartment. So I'm constantly on the lookout for fun middle-of-the-road pieces that aren't too masculine or feminine. A couple new faves...Crate & Barrel bedroom furniture, and this rug that I'd been drooling over for ages. Most rooms are starting to feel pretty pulled together (minus our bedroom, which needs a lot of work). A major thing I have not done, though, is dealt with our big empty walls.

Art has always been a struggle of mine - I feel like what people have up on their walls tells a story about them, and I've always been picky and fickle on what I put up. While we have a few great pieces, overall this is definitely an area I need to work on. Our most recent investment is a huge canvas photo of the sun setting over the mountains in Palm Springs (above) - a gorgeous shot from our wedding photographers taken on our wedding day. As of right now, it's literally the only item up, hung above the sofa.

Time to start brainstorming some more fun investment pieces!

(photo via Stone Crandall Photography)

6.07.2013

birthday.

Last Friday was my 29th birthday. Not too monumental, so I didn't really plan anything in advance. But then as it got closer I realized I'd be missing a Friday birthday opportunity, so I pulled a few things together. It ended up being the most perfect weekend and one of my best birthdays! The highlights:

This picture, taken by my buddy Nicole on her Parisian travels last week. So fun!

// took the day off work, slept in, worked out, got a massage.

// our dear friend Dane took us out for the night - dinner at Wilshire, which was so incredibly good. Much love to Dane for this amazing treat! Dinner turned into one too many drinks. No regrets!

// Saturday afternoon champagne brunch at Sonoma Wine Garden with some girlfriends, which turned into crashing the pool scene at The Fairmont, which turned into too much sun for me and a night in with said girlfriends and some thai food.

// Sunday dinner at our new casa with my parents. Mama baked me a cake!

The weekend ended with champagne sipping while watching Joan being a badass on Mad Men, and the most dramatic* Game of Thrones ever. Unless you read the books. But still, kind of dramatic, eh?

Also still enjoying these beautiful birthday peonies from the lovely B over at live-to-the-point-of-tears. I've never been good about keeping flowers around (mainly because in our old place, there was no good place to put them out of cat reach), but I'm thinking I'm going to start making this a weekly treat. Really does brighten things up!

*said in a Chris Harrison rose ceremony voice

5.30.2013

Kitten.

Welcome to the family, Ducky! This baby was rescued by the sister of a friend, and joined our family last night. She is the sweetest. Happy early birthday to me!

Real celebrations start tomorrow (which is my actual birthday, though I'd argue celebrations started today at a SugarFish lunch). I took the day off and am looking forward to hanging with the kitties, getting in a workout and a massage, and enjoying my weekend.

Cheers!

5.29.2013

Brunch.

Usually for Mother's Day (and Father's Day), my parents elect to stay home and I offer to make brunch for us to enjoy and relax. Much more manageable than making reservations for a crowded restaurant! This year, with brother off in Hawaii, it was just the four of us (D & me, mom & dad). I kept things simple and did most of the prep work at home in LA before making the hour drive to Rancho.

The hot smoked salmon was made using this stovetop smoker - a wedding gift that has gotten unbelievable use! It's incredibly easy to use and the results are super healthy and tasty.

The potato salad is a modification of this recipe (I used regular light mayo and sprinkled fresh dill instead of using pea sprouts), and the arugula watermelon salad is this recipe. I served fresh fruit with homemade lime whipped cream for dessert (really, just homemade whipped cream with some lime zest grated in) - didn't catch a pic but the whipped cream was SO good and I wish I had made twice as much (though my waistline thanks me that I didn't).

5.10.2013

Mom's Day.

(Pic of me and my mama at my wedding)

This week seemed to take for-ev-er to me. I am so antsy to start our move and get settled into the new place! This weekend should be a good one though. Sushi tonight with good friends, a birthday party for our favorite almost one year old, and mom's day on Sunday with my folks. I am making lunch, and if I manage to grab a few good photos, I will share them with the menu here. Happy weekend!

5.08.2013

Our Wedding on Style Me Pretty!

Post on Style Me Pretty on our wedding day. Feels like we were just hanging around the pool in Palm Springs, sipping sangria with our favorite people in the whole world - I can't believe it was over 6 months ago! More wedding-related posts here, and Michael's killer DJ mix of the night here.

5.07.2013

Green Juice.

Last weekend, D and I headed over to the new place to give it a little elbow grease before move-in (less than 2 weeks!!), and I grabbed a bottle of green juice from the grocery store for sustenance. I was not a fan - the taste was kind of chalky and a little bit slimy (not my thing, sorry Kombucha fans of the world). It had been awhile since I'd made my personal fave green juice, so I picked up provisions on my next grocery store run.

The beauty of this green juice recipe is that just an old beat-up blender will do the trick. I don't own a juicer and don't plan to in the near future - just another kitchen appliance to collect dust. Since this is made in the blender, it keeps all the fiber in the juice, which is another bonus.

This recipe is basically the love-child of at least 5 other recipes. I'm sure it would be even more dreamy if blended in a Vitamix, but my cheap old blender does the job just fine!

Green Juice
Makes 2 large glasses

// handful kale, spinach or both
// 1/2 cup canned pineapple chunks with juice (fresh would be delish, too)
// 1/2 green apple, chopped
// a few sprigs to 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
// juice of 1/2 lemon
// 1 celery stalk, chopped
// 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
// knob fresh ginger, grated (as much or as little as you prefer)
// water as needed, to thin
// ice cubes
// Optional: 1-2 tbsp ground flax seeds

Add all of the above ingredients (except ice) to the blender and blend for 2-3 minutes. If it is difficult to blend, add a bit of water in increments until desired consistency. Add ice cubes (I usually use about 5, but more or less is fine) and blend on ice setting for about a minute.

Enjoy!

4.26.2013

We're Moving!

D and I have lived in our current apartment for a little over 3 years, and it's been good to us. It will always have a special place in my heart for being our first home together. But that said, we have been dying to move for about a year now. Living in our place afforded us the opportunity to throw an amazing wedding, but now we're 6 months on the other side of that and ready for a home that feels a little more like home and a lot less like a place you'd make do with in college.

We've been on the hunt for months, but nothing felt right (well, nothing in our budget anyway). We'd see a few places, get discouraged, then take a break for a few weeks.

This week, we checked out an apartment near my work on my lunchbreak, but it was another disappointment. Discouraged but not surprised, I came back to the office and decided to give Craigslist one last glance for the day. And just before noon, a darling townhouse in the neighborhood we currently live in (and love) was posted! Cautiously optimistic, we set an appointment to check it out after work.

Upon seeing the place, we knew this was the one. We immediately submitted an application and crossed our fingers, and 48 hours later, we were signing a lease!

I am already itching to get the ball rolling, but we can't move in for a couple weeks. For now, I have to make do with pinning ideas like crazy, organizing, and starting the great pre-moving purge. In the meantime, I'll distract myself with fun weekend plans with friends and family. Have a lovely weekend!

An instagram I took of our new patio (finally, some outdoor space!)

(Photo via)

4.18.2013

24 Hours as a Williamsburg Hipster.

A couple weeks ago, D and I flew to upstate New York for a few days of quality times with the fam.

Seeing the sunrise from an airplane is now my preferred sunrise viewing (and really the only thing good about waking up at 4am for a flight)...

As anxious as flying makes me (it never gets better, does it!), I look forward to these trips SO much. I admit I kind of feel like I hit the jackpot with how fabulous his family is - they are the best (to be rivaled only by MY amazing family, who I can't wait to see in October!).

Our cousin Olivia took this pic of the two of us at SIL's baby shower...

My baby shower contribution: little silver spray-painted jungle animals, to go with baby's room theme...

After a couple days upstate and showering my sister-in-law for our soon-to-be niece, I took the train to NYC for 24 hours with my girl Carly.

Carly has lived all over the city since moving there from LA a few years ago: the Upper West Side, a few spots on the Lower East Side, and currently, Williamsburg. The irony was not lost on me, as we used to joke incessantly about Brooklyn and it's hipster residents. But this trip, I might have fallen in love with you, BK.

I arrived at Penn Station in the late morning and hopped on the subway, only to be met with an outage on the L Train - my preferred method of transport out of Manhattan. Luckily NYC transport is as easy as LA is absurd, so I got myself to the J/Z train (holla) and into BK. In lieu of dealing with the dreaded G Train, I opted to walk the mile-ish to my final destination, since it was the first lovely day the city had seen yet this year. Carly (and Bailey) met me half way, and we headed back to their casa to settle in before heading back out. And wow - the apartment on the waterfront is a dream! High ceilings, space and lots of light. The anti-Manhattan apartment digs.

Our ambition was to brunch at Egg (mainly to satisfy a 2 year old inside joke), but knowing it would likely be uber crowded on a Sunday afternoon, we wandered around and ended up at Sweetwater. We sat on their patio and chowed down on steak, eggs and mimosas, just in time for the clouds and wind to roll back in (bummer!). After brunch, we headed back to Carly's, grabbing some orange juice on the way to chill with a few more mimosas at home.

Killer views of Manhattan from steps outside Carly's door...

That evening, we ventured back out for cocktails and oysters at Maison Premiere (delish!) then to Rye for dinner, which was beyond (we shared the Sea Scallops & Berkshire Pork Belly and the Fried Brussels Sprouts, and the old fashioned was fab).

Egg, naturally...

On Monday, we finally got our Egg brunch, which was just as tasty as I hoped. We wandered around W-berg for awhile, picking up some travel souvenirs along the way (ok, that's just my fancy way of saying I spent way too much money on chocolate and treats for the trip home at the Bedford Cheese Shop and Mast Brothers). Then it was time to trek to JFK and head home.

Some delicious pour-over coffee for the road...

Lately, traveling to favorite cities (SF, NYC) has made me realize I'm overdue to explore LA like a tourist - to find new favorite spots in this city I live in but feel like I barely know sometimes. I have been lazy about making any resolutions for 2013, but this would definitely be one of them.

Happy almost Friday!

4.08.2013

Lately.



Hey, remember when I got a new job and then dropped off Earth?


Life has been full the past several weeks - full of celebrations, wrapping up, first day jitters, settling in. Capping it all off was an incredible trip to New York to celebrate my soon-to-be niece, spend time with family and steal some quality time with one of my best girls in NYC. In fact, I'm currently 35,000 feet in the air speeding towards Los Angeles as I type this. Thanks be to technology (and airplane wine).


Hope to drop by again this week to talk about my hipstered-out 24 hours in Brooklyn. It might be about time for a fixie bike to go with the delicious pour-over coffee I had this morning.


Have a good week!


3.08.2013

Friday + News.

Hello there! It's been a surprising and exciting couple weeks around these parts. I got a new job! If that seems shocking, I'm with you - I'm as shocked as anyone.

I have been at my current job for the past five years (literally 5 years in a week). I don't talk about work too much on here because - boring! While I find what I do interesting, I'm sure corporate law would bore most people in blog-land to tears. It's about as far from cat photos and pinterest-inspired craft projects as one can get. But this is my life, and it's who I am.

When I moved to LA in the beginning of 2008, I had no idea where I'd end up. I made the move on a wish and a prayer, and in retrospect, how crazy was I? Mere months later, the financial industry had a meltdown and the world followed suit, and people started getting laid off left and right - especially in Biglaw.

Luckily work was still happening for us, and we trucked along. Biglaw is a transitory place, and people came and went. I've lived in three apartments since I started, and added a cat and a husband to the mix. My job has been the longest permanence I've had in anything in life since before I went off to college. This little windowless office of mine really does feel like home sometimes, and the friends I've made here are lasting.

All that said, I was approached by a recruiter last week (!) about an incredible in-house opportunity. After meeting the team and doing some serious soul-searching, I decided to take the leap to something new. If not now, then when? I am overwhelmed and terrified, and excited, too!

Two weeks from today is my last day. Lots to do in two weeks! But for now, I think some celebrating is in order. Have a lovely weekend!

(Image via)

2.26.2013

thoughts.

The bay area for the 3 day weekend last week was just what I needed for my soul. Quality time in a place that feels like home with some of my favorite people in the world brings on a special kind of life perspective. It's funny that living up there didn't provide the same warm and fuzzies - is it that absence makes the heart grow fonder, or life is simply just shinier on vacation? I say both.

Lately I have felt very "in-between" - I imagine it must be a common feeling for the recently-married folks who aren't interested in rushing into parenthood. I am trying to be patient and enjoy this life phase, but I definitely get itchy not working toward some goal. Self-Reminder: I AM working toward a goal - being debt-free!

D and I are making a focused effort to pay down the last of our credit cards, cars, and student loans. I was hell-bent on not having wedding debt roll into 2013, and we succeeded, but we still have other bills to square away. Because of this, life looks a lot more like budget spreadsheets and inexpensive nights out than elaborate vacations and spontaneous (but pricey) adventures.

Even with our looming financial goals, I want to take some time this year to re-discover me. It's officially been 5 years since I moved away from the bay (and nearly 7 since college - yeesh), and in a few weeks, it will be 5 years at my job. For my ADD personality, this is all big time. This year I'd like to re-discover a love for this city, and pick up a new (or old) hobby or two. I feel like I want to feng shui 2013. March feels like a good time to spring clean life!

(Photo via)

2.15.2013

friday.

It's been kind of quiet around here lately; nothing really exceptional to report. Hopefully I'll have some fun posts next week after a long weekend in one of my favorite cities - San Francisco!

D and I are heading up the coast to spend some quality time with the city and dear friends we love so much.

A few things I've enjoyed lately:

// My dream home is for sale. Anyone want to buy it for me?

// Sweet post from my cousin. I can't wait to see these amazing people in October when Grandma turns 90!

// Amazingly accurate.

// I will not cave to this ridiculous trend.

// God I love this show.

// Guilty of all of these things!

// Probably one of the scariest movies I've ever watched.

Have a wonderful long weekend!

(Photo via)

1.30.2013

everything cookies.

One of my favorite things to do when I'm bored is figure out if I can bake anything worthwhile with the ingredients I have on hand (with boredom usually comes laziness, so going to the store would be out of the question). So on Saturday in the midst of all the nothing I was involved in, I decided to try my hand at these everything cookies.

I've had these cookies bookmarked since Sara posted them, and I couldn't decide how I felt about them, after reading the recipe. Would there be too much going on? And the added step of chilling them for an hour really disagrees with my need for instant gratification.

Sara has never steered me wrong though, via her blog or her cookbook, so when I realized I had most of the ingredients on hand, I was in.

The only ingredient I didn't have was chocolate chips, and while I'm sure they are incredible in the recipe, I really didn't miss them one bit. D and I both chowed down on these delicious cookies in two days (ok, it was mostly me). I think leaving the chocolate out actually makes all the other flavors really shine; when I make them again (and oh, I will), I will probably keep the recipe as modified. Also, it looks like I need to add Aran's cookbook to my stash.

EVERYTHING COOKIES

Recipe from Small Plates and Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga, as adapted on Sprouted Kitchen.

// 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
// 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
// 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
// 1 tsp. vanilla extract
// 1 egg, room temperature
// 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
// 2 tsp. baking powder
// 2 tsp. baking soda
// 1 tsp. salt
// 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
// 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
// 1/2 cup oats
// 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
// 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, roughly chopped

Combine the butter, cane sugar and brown sugar in a bowl or stand mixer and mix for three minutes.

Add the vanilla and egg and mix to combine, scraping the sides.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until dough just comes together.

Add the oats, pecans and coconut. Mix until ingredients come together; dough will be sticky. Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment and roll into a tight log 16'' long and about 2'' in diameter. Refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350'. Cut the cookie dough log into 1/2'' thick disks. Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet, spaced 2'' apart. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, you want them to look slightly underbaked. They get very crispy if overcooked, err on the side of undercooking.

The raw dough or baked cookies keep for 5 days.

Enjoy!

1.28.2013

weekend.

(Photo taken last weekend, as this weekend featured less sun/sky and more cold/rain)

A factual account of all of the things I did this weekend:

........................................

........................................

........................................

Basically, I did nothing. Caught up on the DVR, watched this movie (which was about a million times better that I expected! So good, highly recommend), and did boring things like hit the gym and grocery shop. Also, I made some cookies that deserve their own post (RIP cookies, which were so good they are already gone). Sometimes, a weekend like that is just what's needed.

Since I didn't post about last weekend, though, here are a few highlights:

// Sushi at my favorite happy hour sushi spot U-Zen with a few work buddies.

// Boozy brunch at Zengo with B, Lyndsy and Danielle.

// Finally saw Argo! Loved it. Heads and shoulders above Zero Dark Thirty in my opinion.

// Drinks with a new friend at Sonoma Wine Garden.

// My mama came into town for the night Sunday and I took her for drinks at Tavern, since I've been looking for an excuse to have another Tavern on the Green for weeks.

// Monday night I grabbed dinner with an old friend downtown, and he took me to Cole's, where I had the best Old Fashioned of my life.

Whew, seems like I had a pretty boozy 3 day weekend. Maybe that's why this weekend was so boring?

Now, off to tackle another week!

1.24.2013

juice cleanse.

Confession: I am currently on day 3/3 of a juice cleanse. I have never done a juice cleanse before, so I admit I didn't want to post about it until I knew I could actually follow through. No use shouting it from the rooftops on Day 1 when I'd just be scarfing cheese and coffee that afternoon!

Cleanses have always appealed to me from afar, but besides trying the Master Cleanse for a few days before prom in high school, I've never pulled the trigger on one. So last week when Jess blogged about her adventure on a juice cleanse, I was intrigued. I've been wanting a kick start for 2013, and this cleanse didn't seem too scary. After an indulgent weekend, I was in.

I woke up on Tuesday feeling not too fab after a long indulgent weekend. I was ready! At times it was definitely a challenge - eating is so ingrained in the daily routine, and not doing it was odd. I was never hungry, though - I added up the calories and they are around 1300 for each day (I did the breakfast juice for my afternoon snack). Overall, I'm pleased with the past few days. I feel amazing, and I'll be curious to see if the few lbs I dropped stays off or not. I definitely feel like this was a good reset, and I would consider doing it again.

The Good:

// No coffee. I was SO worried I was going to get my usual killer caffeine-withdrawal headaches on this, but it seemed that the green tea offset it. I did the hot green tea in the morning, and also had some cold green tea and hot herbal tea in the afternoons. Other than that I drank water.

// No real withdrawals at all, actually. I already avoid gluten and don't tend to eat a ton of sugar, and with so much fruit, I didn't have a sweet tooth.

// Taking a bath at night felt real indulgent.

// Many people didn't like the lunch juice, but I actually kind of loved it. It felt very veggie and healthy.

// Whipping these all up in my (cheapie) blender was no problem at all, and they kept great in the fridge during the workday.

The Bad:

// I was so COLD! I hardly ever get cold, but drinking cold juice, I was freezing after each batch. Drinking hot herbal tea did help, though.

// Scrolling through pinterest or my favorite daily food blogs was torture.

// I didn't work out during the cleanse, but this could have been a mental thing.

What I Learned:

// Coffee is such a vice of mine. I knew this already, but the cleanse made me do some soul-searching. My energy wasn't crazy high, but it was more even-keeled all day long, instead of the usual crash I get when I have my normal couple of cups of coffee in the morning. I need to re-evaluate my coffee consumption.

// I need to make more of an effort to drink herbal tea and WATER. Getting enough water has always been a struggle of mine, and this really reinforced that.

// Giving my body a rest feels great, but I am ready for some normal food tomorrow!

Click Here to check out the info on this cleanse.

1.18.2013

{wedding related} odds and ends.

YOU GUYS - our insanely amazing wedding DJ just posted our unedited DJ set and I can't stop smiling and jamming at my desk. I feel like I am there again. CLICK HERE to check it out!

Thank you so much for following along this week with our wedding. I am not a sappy individual, but it was really the most amazing day and weekend of my life thus far, and I am so appreciative to everyone who made it so special. We're pretty damn lucky!

In lieu of odds and ends this Friday, I'd like to give some love to a few of the folks who made our wedding so great...

// The Ace Hotel and Swim Club
// Stone Crandall Photography
// Michael Antonia aka The Flash Dance
// The Emotion Picture Studio
// Over the Rainbow Cupcakes & Desserts
// The Bride & I
// Airplant Supply Co
// Hello!Lucky
// Oh Dier
// Just Buttons

To close the week, here are a few photos that our lovely photographers took around The Ace on our day. I want to keep them here so that when I'm having a tough day, I can visit my own blog and remember that this world is only a 2 hour drive away, and I'll be back real soon.

(All photos by Stone Crandall Photography)