Hey everybody, welcome to July! I hope everyone had a great Independence Day weekend! Like I mentioned before, I spent Friday – Sunday in Saugerties, NY celebrating my best friend, Rach’s Bachelorette Weekend with all of her lovely ladies. And it was SO nice coming back to LA with two more days off of work!
We spent our two days mostly at the beach – walking Marty, laying on the sand, swimming in the ocean, and people-watching 😉 It was beautiful here all weekend long! On Monday night, we got all the neighbors together and drank Watermelon Mojitos in the backyard and set off sparklers before heading to the dive bar across the street…it’s kind of a “Independence Day Eve” tradition for us at this point 😉
And on the actual Fourth, The Redondo Condo made a big feast to celebrate. There were (amazing) ribs and burgers, sausage and baked beans, pasta salad and red white & blue dessert! I made our favorite go-to summer salad: spinach, strawberries, walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese with balsamic vinaigrette (it’s always a crowd pleaser). I think the food is definitely my favorite part of the holiday 😉
But with the start of July, means there was an end to June, and so here is my promised June Lookback List of 2017:
This month I read another Jodi Picoult novel, titled Plain Truth. This particular book caught my attention because it takes place in Lancaster, PA and focuses on a young Amish girl who is accused of giving birth and murdering a newborn. I’ve been loving Jodi Picoult, and again I found myself not able to put this one down! I’ve tried to start another book by a different author in the meantime, and so far I just can’t get into it! Does anyone else ever have this problem when they find an author they really love??
This month was spent planning and celebrating Al’s 30th Birthday Party, which I posted about here. And doing some last minute prepping for Rachael’s Bachelorette Party. This summer is proving to be a busy one with almost no free weekends until October!!
Since I had a week of Staycation (which I posted a little bit about here), I found some time to sit down and watch some actual movies! I usually have a hard time sitting still at home long enough to watch a whole movie, because I’m always thinking about a million other things that I should be doing instead…oops!
Captain Fantastic – This movie can be found on Amazon Prime, and I 100,000% recommend it. It was recommended to me by a friend from home who, so far, hasn’t steered me wrong yet. It came out in 2016, and is about a husband and wife who have moved their kids into the wild, away from civilization, to grow up. They teach them how to survive in the wild while home schooling them. In the meantime, the mother dies and so the father loads the kids into a bus to travel across a few states to her funeral, where they come in contact with civilization and the father begins to question his decisions. I loved this movie so much, and the soundtrack is equally as amazing.
Wonder Woman – I went to see this movie in theaters by myself, and probably about a third of the way through it, I was already telling myself that I want to see it again. Not only is Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) a total bad ass, but the entire movie is made up of strong, bad ass women. It was so refreshing to finally see a superhero movie featuring a female Protagonist. While the plot line is typical of any superhero comic, I thought the effects were good and it was highly entertaining. Go see it!
Going Clear – This documentary can be found on HBO, and it’s about The Church of Scientology. It’s really cool because it consists of firsthand accounts from people who had been members for 20+ years, before getting out and telling their stories. It’s really crazy, some of the stuff that went — and still — goes on, but since it used to be especially popular among Hollywood celebrities, I was interested to learn more about it.
I mentioned earlier that I made our favorite go-to summer salad for the Fourth of July, but for June, I whipped up Alex’s favorite Banana Cake for his birthday, with instructions from his mom! With the month being so busy, I’ll admit that I’ve gone out to eat a little more than I should have instead of cooking! But otherwise, we’ve been taking advantage of the summer to do a lot of grilling outside – our favorites are jalapeno burgers from Jon’s Supermarket on 190th Street.
Burgers on the grill and lots of salads! And of course, we couldn’t celebrate Alex’s birthday without a trip to Uncle Bill’s Pancake House in Manhattan Beach! Marty’s been joining us on a lot of our outings, as we’re trying to expose him to as much as we can so he becomes a model citizen pup 😉
I posted earlier this month about our favorite breweries in the Southbay, and mentioned the Los Angeles Ale Works in Hawthorne as the only one we hadn’t been to…Well now I can officially say that I have been there twice, and both the beer and atmosphere are great! They have their normal selection of beers, but they also have this other kind that you can add fruity flavors too, for a more fruit juice inspired taste, rather than beer. I like ordering the sampler here, because they include their very own flavored sparkling water too 😉
We also spent a Sunday afternoon at The Strand Brew Co. again this month after a nice little hike on the coast, with Lauren’s family who were visiting!
And naturally, a lot of wine was consumed this month as well! After Lauren’s Bridal Shower in PA early in the month, we went to Spring Gate Winery. And during Rachael’s Bachelorette in NY, we went to Brunette Wine Bar in Kingston. I love me some good wine!
With a mischievous puppy who’s discovered how much fun yarn can be, weaving is at an all-time low these days. Instead, I did some sewing! I got a really easy shift dress pattern by McCalls (M6102, Pattern B for those interested) on sale for $1.99 and bought two different fabrics – a linen and a light linen, and made two cute shift dresses! We don’t have AC here at our place, so when summer hits I basically live in dresses, and have found that making them is far less expensive than buying them! What I love most about these is that you can wear them with pretty much anything! I love slipping on my Birkenstocks or Adidas sneakers and a baseball cap, to give them a super casual look.
My incredibly talented mother also took the time to make this beautiful floor-length dress for me for the shower! It’s a silky fabric that I fell in love with immediately, and I can’t wait to have it back in LA with me!!
This month was full of travel! My first weekend was spent in Harrisburg, PA, celebrating my best friend, Lauren’s, Bridal Shower! The entire weekend was perfect, and I’m especially thankful for getting to spend some time with just her on the Friday before her shower…we had coffee in the morning at Little Amps, and then had dinner at Millworks in downtown Harrisburg (one of my absolute favorite places). Her shower was beautiful and she is so loved!
The last weekend of the month, I traveled to a little town in New York called Saugerties, for Rachael’s Bachelorette Weekend! This was a fun trip because there was another girl from LA that I could travel with. She’s from Long Island, so we got to spend some time with her family before and after the Bachelorette too. The little town of Saugerties was really cute and we stayed in an Air BnB called the Saugerties House. It was so much fun getting to know these girls better, and I can’t wait to celebrate Rachael & Virgil with them in exactly one month!!!
In terms of LA, the girls and I had a Girls Night Out at a rooftop bar in Downtown LA, called The Perch. The Fellows at their hospital were all graduating, so we tagged along and spent the night celebrating their success!
This month I am especially proud of my husband, for setting his mind and accomplishing something crazy and scary and wonderful. Al and his best friend, Vince, hiked the entirety of Mt. Whitney this month! For those of you not familiar with Mt. Whitney, it is the highest summit in the contiguous US and the Sierra Nevada, with an elevation of 14,505 feet. When you take into account the risk of altitude sickness, it’s a pretty incredible feat. But they had Mother Nature really working against them – with crazy amounts of snowfall and flooding, the trails were pretty much invisible and Park Rangers were advising people against the hike. Of course that didn’t stop them. They left their camping base around 2:30 in the morning and made it to the summit by noon. There was an article recently published about a group of Marines who also made the hike in one day, but other than them, we haven’t heard of anyone else making the trek in a single day under those conditions. I was pretty much a nervous wreck the entire day that they were gone, as there have been multiple deaths on the trail, but when I got this photo of Al at the summit, all of my worries washed away, and I felt nothing but pride and love for this crazy husband of mine.
There was lots to celebrate this month! We celebrated Lauren’s Bridal Shower in PA, the Pens Stanley Cup Victory at a bar in Hermosa, Al’s 30th Birthday at the beach, and our friend Rachel’s Graduation with beer flights LA Ale Works (and a champagne shower afterwards, of course). And finally, Rach’s Bachelorette in NY! Oh, and we can’t forget our wonderful Banjo’s fourth birthday! You didn’t think we’d miss an excuse to have a puppy party (+ a kitten!), did you?!
My favorites this month have been anything by Leon Bridges, but especially River. And There Will Be Time by Mumford & Sons and Baaba Maal !! Another band I really like is called The Good Husbands … they’re predominately underground rap, but my favorite song by them is Wheels Fall Off, featuring Scarlet Parke.
And there we go! All caught up…and I can’t believe we’re already five days into the month of July! … And that we have officially been married for more than two months now! What!?