Monday, November 19, 2012

Summer Stories: A Night in Tuscany

Call it a combination of Pinterest had new inspiration from Mad Men's sad, 50s housewife Betty Draper, but my best friend and I decided we wanted to get domestic and throw something for our fellow pinterest (and food) loving friends.

Enter the idea of co-hosting a dinner party for our group of friends. Next came creating a theme (with dresses required), coming up with a menu, grocery shopping, and actually having to cook the meal.

We decided that our theme was going to be "A night in Tuscany," and we tried to plan the menu accordingly.
Garlic toasted bread (baguette) with melted mozzarella cheese and prosciutto
Green grapes  

Drinks included Italian sodas from Trader Joe's (Sparkling pink lemonade, Grapefruit and Orange flavored soda)
Parmesan Chicken 
Steamed asparagus and lemon slices
Orzo with parmesan and basil
Salad with almonds, feta, mandarin oranges, and raspberry vinaigrette

Dinner guests!

Grilled peaches with whipped cream
Ice cream with peaches, homemade whip cream, ground up chocolate/brown sugar/extra
All in all, an extremely successful dinner party that still leave me shocked at my newly discovered (and rarely used) culinary talents!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Summer Stories: Getty Villa

This summer, my dad hosted the "5 Days of Fluffy" for my Mom's 50th birthday. We had activities planned for the 5 days leading up to her birthday which included a beach bonfire/dinner, stand up paddle boarding in San Clemente, lunch in Malibu, and visiting the Getty Villa.

The Getty Villa is the second museum location of J. Getty's art collection. It's located in Malibu, and focuses on mirroring ancient Greek architecture and displaying collections of ancient Roman and Greek art and sculptures.

I've visited the Getty Center twice before (once with the family and once with Scott), but this was the first time I've seen the Getty Villa. I actually preferred the Villa experience because I've always had a great interest in ancient Roman culture (specifically mythology), so it was nice having a genuine interest in most of the art. I can't be the only one who has to fein interest in some art galleries to convince myself that I'm cultured too.

Anyway, the architecture of the Getty Villa was amazing, and all the different fountains were my favorite part of the Villa.

My favorite picture I took!

These guys and I talked, and ends up we have a lot in common so we decided to take a picture together. Ends up we even look alike! (I'm such a weirdo.)

We spent most of the time before lunch exploring the Villa and looking at the art pieces that were spread around downstairs, so we decided to take a lunch break before tackling the art intensive upstairs. We snagged a table from the outside cafe tables, and broke out our picnic materials. I'm not sure if we're usually allowed to do that, but all the picnic tables were being used by school groups. While our baguette and turkey sandwiches were really good, the smell of freshly cooked pizza that was around us was a little hard to ignore. 

After lunch, we explored the second floor and galleries of the Getty Villa. It was divided into two main galleries: one regarding ancient Greek and Roman sexuality and another dealing with the daily life of an ancient greek (I forget the actual name of it). We started looking at the daily life side, and my favorite part was the ancient jewelry and coins.

Gold Belt, necklaces, and Bracelets
The sexuality exhibit was really interesting, but the funniest part was watching my Mom's reaction to the artwork and exhibits. The sculptures especially were great, and it was interesting to see the ancient definition of beauty (there were a lot of sculptures labeled "Beautiful Women,""Beautiful Male," or "Aphrodite/Venus"). 

Visiting the Getty Villa is definitely a necessity when living (or visiting) in Southern California so I'm glad that we all got to go!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Summer Stories: 6 Year Anniversary in San Diego

Dear the best boyfriend in the world, my best friend, and the only person who reads this blog, I've had this in my drafts folder since literally June and I thought I would publish it as a surprise since we didn't get to do my picnic date/plan this weekend. I love you!

Scott and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary in San Diego again this June. Since I had work late the night before running the photo booth at an event, I drove down to his house early in the morning (aka 8:30 in the morning). After the worst/most frustrating traffic I've experienced, I finally made it down to Encinitas. Scott had planned our date and was keeping it a surprise, so once we were in the car I bugged him to give me hints for the next 45 minutes.

We ended up driving all the way down to Coronado for a brunch and beach date. I've never been to Coronado before and always have wanted to go (it was voted best beach by a Yahoo article), and Scott knows how much I want to explore downtown San Diego so I became a very happy Julia. I actually thought we were just going to do brunch a few minutes away, so I was really surprised and excited that we were doing a full out beach date!
On a side note, the only way to get to the city is by driving over a huge bridge that overlooks the ocean and downtown San Diego. I've always been a little bit special, and really really love driving over bridges, so I was having way too much fun taking pictures of the driver and bridge.
Downtown San Diego

We went to a cutesy cafe by the beach called Cafe 1134 and both ordered Jasmine Green Tea while we waited for our food. I don't usually drink caffeine, but it was one of those cafes where the experience doesn't feel complete if you don't pick one of their 50 exotic sounding tea choices. Since it was a pretty day out (and a little too hot for tea.... oh well, worth it), we sat in the back of the restaurant and I attacked Scott with pictures.
I ordered a Cortez omelet which had Jack cheese, avocado, mushroom, and shrimps. I order anything that has mushroom or shrimp when I go out to eat, so this omelet was perfect with a topping of avocado (so extra perfect). It came with a baguette end and fruit instead of home fries because they mixed up my order we were heading to the beach after.

After brunch, we searched for parking... searched for parking... decided that we fit into a spot that kinda worked, and headed down to the beach. Coronado beach is absolutely beautiful, and has the softest sand of any beach I've been to in California. It was a really warm day out, but the water was freezinggg. Like whole body going numb, getting wet and sprinting out freezing.

Around 3 we started to head back because Scott's brothers were having their high school graduation party that night. The most notable part of the event was probably taking the most badass picture of our 6(!) year relationship:

I had an amazing 6 year with you, and thanks for planning such a great day together. I love you!

So it was a little short, and I didn't have too many pictures which was why it was in my draft box so long, but I wanted to publish it so I could always remember :)
I had an amazing time celebrating our 6 year anniversary together, and I love you will all my heart Scott! Thanks for being the guy who 6 years later still opens car doors for me, stays up late to talk (or to make me laugh maniacally by making weird noises when we have to get up early), takes me out for dates, plays with my hair because you know I like it, or compliment me even when I'm being ridiculous. Everyday you make me smile, and I'm so lucky that we've been able to experience high school, college, and everything else together. I love you!

Monday, June 18, 2012

What I did on Father's Day

A little bit of this..
My other brother was on a hike for boy scouts, so besides him it the whole family went surfing with my Dad.

My attempt at surfing. I did stand up .25 seconds later!

...  and A LOT of delicious unpictured french toast followed by relaxing around the house.

A requested dinner of lasagna, salad, and garlic bread:

and a homemade Father's Day Card from all of us.

Happy (a little belated) Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day Trips from Dana Point to Malibu

This Tuesday is my Mom's 50th birthday, and my Dad secretly organized the "Five Days" of celebration for her. In other words, my whole family was told to completely clear our schedule from Friday to Tuesday. The plan was everyday we were going to surprise my mom with a new activity to celebrate her birthday.

Friday started with a beach bonfire at the Portuguese Bend Club complete with hot dogs, hamburgers, salad, and smores (lots and lots of smores).

Saturday, we went down to Dana Point to meet up with some of my mom's college friends at the Dana Point Harbor Beach. One of the families is obsessed with stand up paddle boarding and had about 6 boards and paddles, so they brought them all to the harbor.

Sadly there are no pictures, but I absolutely LOVE stand up paddle boarding. It was more of a core workout then arms (surprisingly) since the harbor water was completely still. With no waves or currents, learning to SUP was super easy. It wasn't hard to keep my balance, but then again I purposely chose one of the bigger boards that could have floated an elephant. I really want to try it again at the beach, so I'm going to look in to renting boards this summer. After the beach, we went to family friend's house for dinner.

Sunday, we drove up to Malibu to meet my grandparents at their friend's beach house. The place was beautiful and right on the water. I'm a tad of obsessed with beach side houses/condos (I kinda mentioned it during my post about the bike ride), so I took a few pictures of the house. It's small and cozy, but the location makes it crazyyyy expensive so we were all excited to have a chance to spend the day there.

main bedroom

second bedroom with terrible lighting in this picture

actual master bedroom turned living room (side with desk)

other side of living room

luckily it got sunny with the hour after we got there
We got to the house around 12, and decided to all go for a walk on the beach to get out our dog's energy and to take a peak at the other houses on the beach.
Spiral staircase to the beach from a neighboring home
We came back to the house, and had a really delicious lunch. Wendy is honestly one of the best cooks ever, and she always goes full out for any event. We had steak sandwiches, potato salad, roasted corn salad, and salad with strawberries, raspberries, dried cranberries, and pecans with a homemade raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Everything was delicious, but the actual salad was amazing. I usually find fruit to precious to put in veggies, but I totally forget how delicious the mix can be. To top it off, the whole meal was eaten on the balcony.

Lunch with a view
After lunch, we had a beach day and went swimming in the ocean and took a longer walk to the adjacent more public beach (the house was on a public beach too but didn't have public parking so it's pretty empty). Dogs were allowed on the beach so Roxy was having a better time than all of us and running around like a crazy person. She only slightly slowed down when she ran into the water and was hit by a wave--it took her a second or two to figure out how that happened.

We finished up the day with homemade birthday cupcakes. They were carrot cake with white chocolate  cream cheese frosting and had a mango gummy on top for fun. Oh, and they were delicious.
Day four of activities included a trip to the Getty Villa, but I need to grab a few pictures from my mom's camera in order to write about it. Actually I'm hoping to update this post too with a few pictures off my brother's camera too, but if I don't finally post tonight it won't happen.
Yay for hitting publish! Good night!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lunch Date and Body Pump

Remember how I mentioned I joined the gym a week ago? I realized that I am terrible at working out unless I have a running buddy or strict schedule, so I've made it my mission to go to at least a few workout classes a week. The gym just recently added Body Pump to it's schedule, and I finally got up the courage to try it this Monday.

Even though I always mean to, I never really do any strength training. Even if I get around to it, it's never more than 10 minutes which meant an hour long strength training class was really intimidating. Luckily I went with my friend Sarah and used 5 pound weights instead of the barbell for the exercises (I know that's a little sad, but baby steps!). While it wasn't as fun as a class like Turbo Kick Boxing, it went by really quickly and I did enjoy it. I'll probably try to challenge myself a little more next time, and my goal is to go two times a week and work my way up to doing it with a barbell.

One of my other summer goals is to try to cook more (practice makes perfect and I am currently in need of a lottt of practice). So on Tuesday, Sarah and I got together to have a little lunch date! We decided on making chicken curry salad after inspiration from one of my blog posts from last summer.

We healthed it up by using greek yogurt, chicken breasts, curry, sliced grapes, raisins, and lime juice. After deciding to make it an actual salad we added some avocado and dressing.

I'm planning on going to to the Turbokick class tonight and hopefully finishing up the work for my internship early today. I've been seriously terrible at time management and need to spend tonight starting my application for studying abroad.

Once I get more details on that, I'll be sure to write a blog post with all my plans regarding that ;) Bye!