What I'm Into Wednesday - LA is in Retrograde

Ok, so some of you who are tuned into the more spiritual side of things (and Instagram) might know this already, but Mercury is in retrograde from now until the end of the year. Yay. (That's sarcasm.)

Mercury in retrograde lends the universe to feeling a little more chaotic. Technology tends to quit working like it should. Communication definitely breaks down. And you have more of those "WTF are people doing/thinking" moments.

BUT Mercury in retrograde is also a great time for things like creativity, dreaming, brainstorming, and creating in general. So there's that.

Last Thursday I took a day trip to LA and man, was Mercury felt. It started with a plan going completely awry thanks to the serious (and crazy) wildfires and the day ended with me showing up to take a yoga class (that I was super excited about) at Wanderlust Hollywood - only to find out they had cancelled all of that afternoon/evening's classes to hold an event (without emailing or telling anyone - major communication breakdown). 

All of that being said. I still managed to have a great day in LA - so here are some of my favorites. 

SEE

hollyhock house.jpg

One of the things I wanted to do on this trip was go on a mini architecture tour. Little known fact, I wanted to be an architect for a very long time and I have a small fascination with architecture. So when I realized that there was a Frank Lloyd Wright house in the middle of a park in LA that I had never been to, that went on the list. And that quickly led me to wanting to visit one of his son's houses as well. 

I made my way to Barnsdall Park and got to see the Hollyhock House. Even thought it is fenced off and currently being renovated - it was beautiful. 

From there I took a drive into the Los Feliz hills to search out the Ennis House. This one is much tougher to get to. The drive is windy, narrow, and steep - and surrounded with beautiful, giant mansions the whole way (so fun to look at) and then you turn this corner and BAM the Ennis House is staring out at you. It literally took my breath away. There wasn't a great way to park and get a better look (you could if you walked or biked) but man, was that drive worth it.

Lastly, I sought out the Sowden House (by Lloyd Wright - Frank's son). This was literally on a normal street. You could park and walk right up to the gate.

This whole architecture adventure reinvigorated my love for architecture itself. Now accepting applications of other cool places to see. 

DO

greystone.jpg

The major win and surprise of the day came in the form of beautiful gardens at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. In my quest for cool architecture, I came across Greystone and was stoked to discover that the surrounding landscape and gardens are open to the public (even though the mansion itself isn't). It was the perfect oasis in the middle of LA. A beautiful, large open space with gardens, fountains, statues, a koi pond and so many small hidden paths. Beautiful views of both the house and the city were aplenty - and on a Thursday afternoon it was almost empty. 

Do yourself a favor and go. It was so perfect and peaceful. 

SMELL

leatalyla.jpg

The other part of my day trip excitement was food (duh) and one of the main stops on my list was the newly opened Eataly. A few things - 1. I totally forgot I've been to the Eataly in Boston (I'm an idiot). 2. I definitely didn't know Eataly in LA was in a mall - until I had to park there. 3. Wow. Overwhelming.

The Eataly in Boston was set up so much more smartly - spread out, easy to navigate, easy to meander through. I felt like Eataly LA was kind of the opposite. Tall ceilings but a warehouse-y feel that was loud, crowded, and difficult to take your time moving through. It felt rushed and like people were impatient. So I guess it felt like LA.

Either way, it's a fun experience if you do go. And yes, some of the food is amazing.

TASTE

saltstrawlarchmont.jpg

SALT AND STRAW. SALT AND STRAW. They saved my evening after finding out the yoga class was cancelled. I took myself over to the location on Larchmont and indulged. 

Their December flavors are ridiculous - peppermint hot cocoa, a grapefruit eggnog, gingerbread cookie dough, and apple brandy pecan pie to name a few. The clear winner was apple brandy pecan pie. And to my surprise (and delight) they still had sweet potato casserole on the menu from Thanksgiving!

Also to my delight - the lovely guy told me that the Little Italy San Diego location should be open BEFORE CHRISTMAS! There is a Santa after all.

HEAR

Radiolab_WNYCStudios_1400_x.png

Long drives call for good podcasts. It was tough to pick just one... but this week goes out to:

Radiolab for their episode titled Super Cool.

I won't ruin it for you. Just listen. 

What I'm Into Wednesday - The Most Wonderful Time...

Well, it's officially December - which means we are officially into holiday season. Thank you to the lovely humans who officially waited until December hit in order to decorate, blast Christmas music, and get extra festive. I appreciate it, November is far too early. 

So, in honor of embracing the holidays, here we go - let the holiday themed blogs begin!

SEE

IMG_2472.JPG

This Sunday I had the honor of being the speaker during an event to celebrate the grand opening of Saje Wellness in the La Jolla UTC mall. The theme was talking about community wellness, and how the path to bringing wellness to your community has to start with bringing wellness to your own life. It was an amazing experience (and kind of emotional) to recount my path, my journey, through adolescence, high school, college, and my twenties to where I am today. 

I was so happy with the turnout (such an amazing group of women who came out) and with the space! If you haven't actually been into a Saje store - find one near you. They nail the in store experience and you will immediately feel your wellness improve just by stepping in. 

DO

IMG_2328 (1).JPG

We are in the first week of the #Top20of2017 giveaway - and it is a blast! We know that it's always fun to give gifts and presents away to people and this is no different! It's been so enjoyable to play Santa Claus and shower giveaway prizes and gifts - on people I both know and don't know. 

People would be lying if they said they don't love free stuff, especially free stuff that they win. Are you playing along? Follow me on IG @thelpinsd and follow each day's instructions!

SMELL

Winter means Crockpot season. And Crockpot season means SOUP! This week I made a chicken sausage/lentil/couscous concoction - spicy andouille chicken sausage, lentils, couscous, tomatoes, spinach, bell peppers and chicken bone broth. So tasty, very healthy, and surprisingly filling. 

Any suggestions for other soup recipes to try out?

HEAR

Last week I started a new end of yoga class tradition - seated meditation. You're probably saying, "what"? That's definitely not new. True, but a consistent seated meditation isn't something I've been doing at the end of every one of my yoga classes and it's something I've been wanting to incorporate.

So last week we started with 60 seconds. This week we're up to two minutes. As I said last week, 60 seconds simultaneously isn't a long time and is also a really long time. In this busy season it can be challenging to find 60 minutes to spend on your mat or 20 minutes to meditate - but you can always find 60 seconds to sit somewhere quiet and listen to your breath. Try it out. It's powerful.

TASTE

lebkuchen-cookies.jpg

Okay, it's time to confess: cookies are my absolute weakness this time of year. I love love love holiday cookies - gingerbread, shortbread, pepperminty chocolate things. Basically everything in the Trader Joe's cookie aisle. And I'm also okay with indulging. So I bought my first box of holiday cookies from TJs last week - glazed Lebkuchen. These soft, chewy, spiced molasses cookies disappeared real fast. And they were delish!

Best part of holiday cookies? Doing a cookie exchange with friends. What should I make??

Maximize My Month - December 2017

We've made it. The final month of 2017. Together we've tried out and experimented with all sorts of mini life tricks and hacks to see what kind of results we could get each month.

Some were winners and others not so much, but the important thing is that we've been trying. All year, trying. To make ourselves incrementally better. And I think it's working!

November's goal was to not hit snooze. Not a single morning. Guess what? It worked! I woke up with my first alarm every.single.day this past month. It's been day changing (I feel so so so much better), day in and day out. And I'll definitely keep it up. PS did you know that with the new iPhone OS you can turn off the snooze function all together? Yup. Totally doing that.

IMG_8540.JPG

So as we move into December, how are we going to finish the year? While I've been great about using the extra 5-10 minutes in the morning to meditate I've also noticed that my habit of picking my phone up to shut off the alarm has led to very early morning social media browsing, news reading, and email checking. Yup, that's what those 4:something AM IG likes are all about.

SO here's what we're up to for December: no e-mail, no socials, no news, no returning texts UNTIL I've meditated. The pieces are all there, now let's prioritize them. 

Because, you see, once I've meditated I'm much more focused, aligned, and excited for the day - which means I'm much less likely to get lost in the black hole of technology.

Small changes. That's what we're all about!

Cheers to one more in 2017!

xoxo

LP

What I'm Into Wednesday - The Turkey(free) Edition

Contrary to popular belief, turkey is totally optional on Thanksgiving. In fact, it's like the one thing usually on the table that I never eat. It just doesn't do it for me. 

So I wasn't upset at all when we planned to go to Angelo's sister Domenica's house for Thanksgiving dinner. She was vegan for many years, so turkey is low on her priority list as well. So low for both of us, that we didn't have it at all. But don't worry, we still managed to eat plenty (as seen in our food and real baby belly photo below). 

FullSizeRender (13).jpg

So here's What I'm Into from this Thanksgiving week:

SEE

IMG_8475.JPG

There are two websites that I love that feature unusual and weird things to do in San Diego/Southern California: Atlas Obscura (which I've talked about before) and Hidden San Diego. Both of them have entries on the Desert View Tower. This tower is about an hour east of San Diego, in Jacumba, just north of the 8 freeway. Angelo and I took Arlo adventuring on Saturday out east and decided we were so close, we just couldn't miss seeing the tower in person. It was well worth the decor. The goofy guy who owns it has his 6 dogs running around, your dogs are allowed in and off leash too. The first floor of the tower is exactly the weird gift shop you'd imagine in the middle of nowhere desert and for $6.50 you can head up the stairs to the top of the tower, which yes has an amazing desert view. Don't forget to stop at each landing along the way to check out the creepy museum-ish exhibits that are there.

Bonus: your ticket gets you entry to the boulder/cave park just on the other side of the parking lot. We had a blast climbing with the dog up, over, and around big rocks, into caves, and enjoying the strangeness of it all.

I highly recommend making a trip out. Also, he's selling the property for $1.2 million (93 acres!) if you happen to have that laying around.

DO

Pre tower stop we headed up to Mt. Laguna for a morning of hiking. We had the funny thought on the drive up that getting to the PCT on Mt. Laguna (some of the best hiking and trail running anywhere) only takes about 45 minutes - and yet it seems so far away, we almost never go. It can take me 45 to get home from La Jolla. Silly (and a totally random aside). 

Anyway we headed out and just stopped at a random trailhead to start hiking. The Big Laguna Trail is a huge series of trails but the part we ended up on connected us after about half a mile to the PCT. It was perfect weather, looked like fall, and was so much less trafficked than closer hikes. We had a blast!

FullSizeRender (14).jpg

SMELL

The main dish for Thanksgiving this year was a butternut squash that was unbelievable. Mind you, we totally forgot about it on Thanksgiving itself (we did each try a bite, but by the time we remembered we were stuffed - pun intended) but it made for amazing leftovers. 

Thanksgiving or not, you should make this. The house will smell am.az.ing.

TASTE

The taste test winner on Thursday was a bit of a surprise. We had all of these amazing, home cooked, delicious foods - and we lost our shit over baked brie. How can you not?

We did a brie, sliced in half and filled with Trader Joe's Hot and Sweet Pepper Jam, and wrapped in puff pastry. Served with crackers and bread - yum! That could've been the whole meal. We would've been just fine.

HEAR

Here's a poll for all you readers. I'm curious if this is a "thing" or just a Neroni family "thing." Or maybe a midwest/Ohio "thing". Do you listen to Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant on Thanksgiving? Angelo's family has for as long as he can remember (it's on the radio every year on Thanksgiving, apparently) so we adopted that tradition as well. Seeing as though Arlo is named for him, it's even more fitting. For the past few years we've listened on our record player and, I have to say, that 18 or so minutes that is Alice's Restaurant is some of my favorite time of that day. The song/story is just unbeatable.

If not, do you have a weird family tradition that you just can't give up for Thanksgiving? I'm curious!

What I'm Into Wednesday - Annual San Francisco Trip

This was our fourth consecutive year travelling to San Francisco to compete in the North Face Endurance Challenge Series.

B155BEDA-3C3F-4B8B-BA09-5889384CF080.JPG

I was a co-leader of NPSD when we traveled the first two years. We stayed on friend's floors (shout out to Paddy for the floor and Orrin for the entertainment the first year) and on couches in overstuffed AirBnbs. We drove all the way from LA and carpooled with other leaders we rarely see. We attended the North Face headquarters and partook in design talks. And we raced the marathon relay. One year as a two woman team with the one and only Voychick and one year as a four man team dressed up as BG.

Those first two years were nothing but fun.

Last year we headed up and many of us competed in the 50k. We ran the most beautiful trails I've ever been on, shared stunning views, and conquered distances that were new to most of us. It was an epic adventure of a completely different kind.

This year, the fourth, was totally new. The courses were different - they now finished over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco proper. Fewer people went up. We all ran different distances. Yet, it was still magic. There's something about getting a big group of excited, positive. motivating, and funny humans together. It brings out the best in people, and in a city. 

FullSizeRender (12).jpg

DO

IMG_8441.JPG

See above. Literally. Go do the North Face Endurance Challenge in SF next year. Any distance. Just sign up. It's a blast.

SEE

The day before the race we had a debate/discussion about how to spend our afternoon. It's tempting to want to walk all over the place and sightsee anytime you're in a different city, but especially in SF. There's a never ending list of parks, architecture, museums, shops, and restaurants that I want to check out. But walking the day before running many miles is usually a bad idea. So a group of us chose to venture over to the Exploratorium at Pier 15 instead. Holy crap. It was so fun. The $30 admission price is WELL WORTH IT. We spent almost three hours like little kids running around this museum playing with everything. It's an interactive science museum at it's core and you'll be entertained by the exhibits, the shows, the nerdy stuff, and the fun. Go.

SMELL

About half of our Airbnb was the same folks that shared one in Boston for SUMMIT 5.0 this year. And for a second time, we ate pretty much the same things as a family: Thai food two nights before the race and pizza the night before. This time the pizza was a star. Tony's Pizza Napoletana was the shit. Specifically the Eddie Muenster - fried kale, smoked bacon, calabrese peppers, muenster cheese, honey, and lemon.

HEAR

If you're like me, weekends with friends are amazing - but you crave silence. I've been true to my November goal of not hitting snooze, and with that extra 5-10 minutes I'd usually waste on the snooze button I've been meditating. Truly just sitting in silence, repeating a mantra. It's been a centering way to start my day - whether at home or on the road.

TASTE

No trip to SF, LA, or PDX is ever complete without a trip to SALT AND STRAW. Since the location in SD seems to be taking forever to open (come on guys!) we took full advantage of our last day to eat ice cream. November's specialty flavors are all about Thanksgiving dinner. From a salted caramel turkey flavor to stuffing to mashed potatoes and gravy. But the winner? Everyone was in agreement that Sweet Potato Pie with Maple Pecans took home the grand prize. I'm drooling as I think about it.

FullSizeRender (12).jpg