labor day

labor_day 226labor_day 225labor_day 227This labor day seemed particularly long. Saturday feels like forever ago. We started out with hike in the San Gabriel valley. Since it was so hot, we chose a trail that we knew was shady, but it ended up being quite a bit warmer and more strenuous than we intended. It was still really nice to get outdoors though.

labor_day 220labor_day 224birthday_cake labor_day 219labor_day 228We celebrated my mother’s birthday with some friends. Isabelle made a lovely cake, and when it was remarked that she was becoming a regular Martha Stewart she replied: “Who’s that?” I still don’t feel remotely old but it is slightly strange to see kids I used to babysit grow into adults. Time is curious.

I made some baked spinach artichoke dip for the occasion. I tried something different from the last spinach artichoke dip but I think I like the original recipe better. I’m still tinkering.

I tried this new vegan ice cream that my mom picked up. It was quite good, but more than that, the cold brewed coffee was serious stuff. I probably wouldn’t be writing this post right now if it weren’t for that ice cream.

labor_day 221labor_day 222labor_day 223 We played games including a short but lively game of baseball, where one of the dogs would steal the ball if you hit it too far. Does this make it sound like I played? I did not. Though I did enjoy playing a game of Minotaur. I’m more of a board game kind of girl.

Other things:

  • Meeme and Mochi turned 5! Those little rascals. I love those cats so much it’s ridiculous.
  • We saw Blue Jasmine which I really loved. I’m usually not particularly fond of films about ultra rich people, but Cate Blanchett is truly fantastic. I really thought that everyone was great actually. Even though it’s a tale of distress, it’s still fun to watch. I like many Woody Allen films, but I am not an uber fan as I find many people are. Yet, I think that the “Allenness” of this film makes it work. It was entertaining and surprising. Shawn pointed out it’s has some similarities to A Woman Under the Influence, one of my favorite films.
  • I guess this weekend means that the end of summer is nigh, but it’s been terribly hot. I can’t wait for the cool fall air to make an appearance.

Did you do anything fun or relaxing this weekend?


giant_sequoias 219giant_sequoias 223giant_sequoias 224giant_sequoias 227giant_sequoias 226 giant_sequoias 225giant_sequoias 222giant_sequoias 220I have wanted to go camping in the sequoias for years and this weekend Shawn and I finally made the trek up north. To say it is a magical place is an understatement. It is sincerely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Being in the presence of massive trees that have been living for centuries had a great effect on me, especially seeing the destruction humans have caused. I’m thankful that at least the trees within the national park are protected and that conservation efforts continue.

Beyond that, it was really nice to get out into nature and camp for the weekend. Sometimes it’s a great relief to be totally self sufficient and without cell phone service. I loved being surrounded by little creatures and birds all weekend. I even spotted a flying squirrel in a tree above our campsite one night. We cooked some delicious camp meals, did some hiking and really just enjoyed ourselves. I honestly can’t wait to go back. It really solidified for me how important it is to be able spend more time in nature; it makes me feel like a more complete human being.

I’ll have some more to share later in the week, but for now, check out one of the largest trees on the planet.

giant_sequoias 221


snowy redwoods skyline Two weekends in a row of tiny adventures. I supposed it’s strange to want to spend most of the time outdoors when it’s winter but I prefer cold to sweltering heat any day. (I never understand why people want to be out and about in the summer, I just want to hide in a cold, dark movie theater.)

We spent some time hiking in the snow at Mt. Baldy. It’s still novel for me to be in snow, even though we see it a little more regularly with various holiday travels.

Then we trekked further up north to visit Muir Woods. Can you believe I’ve never been to a redwood forest before? It started raining as soon as we got there but it was beautiful and so nice to walk around anyway (until my fingers turned to icicles). We made a stop in San Jose and visited the Winchester Mystery House which was crazy and wonderful and I wish we could live there, even though not really. Somewhere in there we ate vegan cinnamon buns and had vegan ice cream shakes too.

I’m not usually one to take weekend trips, it always feels like you’re losing valuable time, but I realized that there is real value in getting away from your familiar surroundings into someplace knew. Hopefully this year will be full of more little trips and adventures.

little getaways

I’m often bemoaning the fact that I want to live somewhere with trees and greenery, somewhere more natural than this city. The truth is though, we’re lucky to have lots of places to explore that just aren’t that far away. We went hiking this weekend and explored a magical trail, much like the woodsy adventures I dream of. So it isn’t exactly in our back yard, but hey, we don’t even have a back yard so I’ll take what I can get. I suppose excursions like this could make me appreciate Los Angeles enough to stay (for awhile anyway).

Winter vacation

Well it’s the one fabulous week of vacation Shawn and I have off together. We spent Christmas at my brother’s house with his family in Las Vegas. Though we were only there for a brief time, it was really relaxing and nice. I’m feeling very fortunate this Christmas. We made cookies, danced around like idiots playing Just Dance 2 and visited the Magical Forest.

One of the highlights was going hiking in Red Rock Canyon. Since it has been raining heavily there, there was a beautiful waterfall.

This is Wrigley, my brother’s dog. She’s so sweet and absolutely adorable. They adopted her in New York about 9 years ago.

My nephew, Dylan, particularly enjoyed running under the waterfall and jumping over streams.

Alas, I wish our vacation was pure vacation. Instead, I’ll be working on a ton of wedding projects. I can’t believe how soon till we get married. I can’t wait.

So, I now bring you my monster vacation list of things to finish by the end of the year.

(See I was just bribing you with Shawn’s lovely photos. You can see some more of our holiday photos that Shawn took if you like.)

Alix’s (mostly wedding) to do list

  1. Finish and mail out our invitations – This project is ending up taking quite a bit more time than I anticipated.
  2. Work on our guest favors – I’m hand making each one, but can’t quite share what they are yet.
  3. Figure out a hotel for our guests – Apparently our wedding weekend is a busy one and everywhere seems to be booked.
  4. Finalize our catering – Yep, our wedding is less than 2 months away and we don’t have this settled yet. Yikes!
  5. Plan our honeymoon – We have picked a place and booked flights, but need to figure out the details like hotels…
  6. Finally take our engagement photos
  7. Order our wedding bands
  8. Find someone to officiate our wedding
  9. Do some blog housekeeping – just a few nips and tucks here and there for the new year

So there we have it. Can’t wait to start crossing things off. I’m really hoping to have the invites done tomorrow but it’s looking a bit unlikely. Then we’ll be taking our photos on Thursday, which will be much more fun than anything else. We’ve also gotten a lot done…so I’ll share some of that, so everything isn’t so daunting.

Really awesome wedding stuff we’ve accomplished recently

  1. I got my shoes delivered yesterday. I love them. All thanks to you lovely readers, Jo in particular, who showed them to me.
  2. Shawn ordered his outfit. It’s really cool and his groomsmen are going to look great too.
  3. We’ve booked a photographer. This was a really hard choice and things ended up working out in an amazing way.
  4. I should have my dress by next week!
  5. We figured out a really cool plan for our rehearsal dinner which will be fun, low key and really let us spend time with our guests.

After making these lists, I’m feeling pretty good. I know there are a lot of other things I haven’t listed to be done (like a cake…), but I’m not going to worry about those right now. I should really get back to work as I have a lot of cutting and gluing to do with those lovely invites.