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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 - A Reset Week

Have you ever gone on a trip and then felt like you needed a trip when you got back from your trip? We've all been there. I was feeling that way on Sunday afternoon, returning from Joshua Tree, and became determined to not let that feeling carry into the week. This week's list has a little to do with how I managed that.

 

Do:

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Let's start with the trip. This weekend was the first annual #SouthwestCollisionCourse. November Project tribes from San Diego, Los Angeles, and Phoenix converged on a plot of land near Joshua Tree for an evening of racing (6pm - midnight, relay style on teams) and camping. The race was so well organized and the contingent was strong (about 130 people). The plot of desert land worked great for cars and camping and the trail was a fun mix of dirt road (which are apparently private drives, whoops) and challenging trail. All is good in the hood and the event is running smoothly right through the finish at midnight. I have to give my team, the Regul8ors, a shout out. They were so fun, raced hard, and had a blast. Special shout out to Angelo for stepping in when my foot started acting up to run my last leg for me. All the positive aside, this is what I took away from the night: I greatly dislike huge group camping. When I go to nature, I want to enjoy nature. Campfire, star gazing (and Saturn gazing in our case), tent sleeping, quiet nights, and early morning sunrises. There was a small contingent of attendees who decided to take the post race party into the early morning. Like 4:30am early morning. I don't like techno ever, but especially not at 3am. Here's my thoughts: it's fine to enjoy yourself and have a few beers, but be respectful. Respectful of the fact that it's not your property, that there are neighbors nearby, that there are 100 other people who may not want to hear your drunk self yell and blast music, that there are kids, that people might want to sleep after running hard, and that they might want to rise early the next day (well rested) to enjoy nature. It's official, in my old age I've run out of patience.

 

See:

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Last week we began real dog training for Arlo. As in we hired a trainer. James from Who's Walking Who will be coming out once a week for 4 weeks to work on the things that we felt were beyond our ability: attentiveness off leash, not jumping on new people (or old people for that matter), recall off leash, and a little possessiveness with toys. James spent two hours with us and the effectiveness of the training is already noticeable. After talking to a good friend of ours who is a dog trainer, and talking to James, we decided to use the mini Educator with Arlo. It's a low powered electronic collar that delivers a variable (controlled by you) vibration/buzz when you press a button. Let me start by saying that the setting at which we've been using it with Arlo is so low that I can't even feel it when I put the collar on my own body. That being said, it's working really well. He hates it (for now), which is to be expected. Having to pay attention to your parents is no fun. It's exhausting for him to think that hard (which is awesome, see photo above). The only thing I don't like? The serious judgement I get from people who don't own dogs when they hear we are using an e-collar. How do parents of real human children deal with all the parenting shame??? Get off my ass people, he's not your dog and I'm sure you'd rather he not jump all over you. 

 

Hear:

I went into full blown podcast mode on my drive to Joshua Tree. My fave of the weekend was a Radiolab episode entitled Anna in Somalia. It was beautifully done and told a fantastic story about love, literature, and imprisonment. Give it a listen.

 

Smell:

Coffee is not a new topic on this blog. But in my mission to relax into this week instead of approach it with stress I slept in on Monday morning, made myself a large mug of coffee, and enjoyed it in the house - not in a travel mug on the run somewhere. Just being able to sit, to smell the coffee, and to drink it leisurely was heaven. But to make it even better, I made my coffee in the french press (as normal) but added ground roasted coconut and some cinnamon. YUM.

 

Taste:

Upon awakening from a much needed nap on Sunday afternoon I took it upon myself to meal prep for the week. Angelo is out of town for a few days and that normally means my nutrition goes to shit. But I'm getting serious about it. I'm unhappy with a few things performance and appearance wise, and I know that nutrition plays a larger role than even exercise, so I'm on it. That means MEAL PREP. The least amount of work I have to do to eat well on a day to day basis, the better. I roasted some sweet potatoes (or are they yams? What's the difference?) with avocado oil, salt and pepper. I cooked up a mixture of lentils and quinoa in some beef bone broth. And I made a little two bean (black and garbanzo) and corn salad with balsamic and olive oil. Toss those together, add some protein and veggies, and I have lunches and dinners all week. 

 

What I'm Into Wednesday - FUN.

When I compiled this week's list of things I'm digging I was reminded of how lucky I am. My life is "busy", can be "stressful", and I have "adult" things to do...but overall it's really not that difficult. Much of what I do on a daily basis is fun - work and play both fall into this category (and they cross over quite often). And I have to say, for that I'm thankful.

So this week is all about FUN. 

Taste

One of the things I find to be the most fun is eating. And I love trying new restaurants. Angelo and I went out on a puppy-less date on Saturday night and checked out Tribute Pizza in North Park. A few friends had recommended this joint and they were spot on. The space is big, bright, and airy and the food we got was awesome. Foccacia with roasted garlic, a big salad, and a vegan pizza with a squash sauce and roasted veggies. YUM.

Smell

Let's just continue on the food train. Good friends of ours host a Thursday night themed dinner at their house and this past week's theme was "vaguely Asian". So I Googled Asian desserts and an Asian pear crisp came up. Upon further review, the only thing Asian about it was the variety of pears but considering the theme was "vaguely Asian" I figured it worked. Asian pears, orange juice and maple syrup made up the fruit portion. The crumble was oats, coconut, almonds, and crystallized ginger - with coconut oil as the fat. It turned out amazing! And smelled so good. 

See

This Saturday was one of my favorite races in San Diego - the Balboa Park 8 Miler. It's one of the oldest races in town and is a longtime fundraiser for the San Diego Track Club. It's put on by my favorite race directing company, High Performance Movement, and takes you on a serious tour of the roads and trails of Balboa Park. I'd been hesitant to run it due to a flare up of some foot problems in the past few months so instead I planned my normal run to head past the race finish so I could cheer in some friends. My brother in law crushed his race, my Ashley Lane Fitness girls had a blast, and (of course) there were plenty of November Project peeps repping the #grassrootsgear. While racing is fun, watching your friends and family cruise across the finish line was a blast.

Do

That leads into do: RUN! Specifically, run without pain or discomfort. Last week I stopped by Milestone Running and harassed them for about two hours. We talked about all my weird foot pains and problems (and my f-ed up feet) and tried on just about every shoe. In the end, they gave me a returned pair of Hokas to try out. Let's preface this with the fact that I've avoided Hokas like the plague because, honestly, they're pretty ugly. But I'm at the point where I'll try anything. So I tried them for a long run Saturday. AND THEY WERE AWESOME. 14 painfree miles later and I may be hooked (for now). While they won't fix the problem, they are a good part time solution. So I went back to Milestone Sunday and bought myself a pair. If you see me running in them, try not to laugh. I promise to stop laughing at other runners wearing them too.

Hear

When I go on solo long runs I occasionally like to take headphones with me. But I don't listen to music, instead podcasts. So here's another one for you: RadioLab (again) and their episode titled Breaking News. It was all about new technology on the horizon that is basically like Photoshop for audio and video. Yup, you will soon be able to edit audio and video - making yourself (or others) say and do things that never actually happened. While the tech is cool, it's also a little terrifying. They dig into it pretty well here. Give it a listen.