I don’t know about you guys, but January felt like it was about ninety days long to me! I think it always feels like the longest month of the year because we’re coming off of so many holiday celebrations with friends and family, and that first week back to work feels like 15 days in itself soooo….
Regardless, 2018 has been off to a fantastic start, and I’m so excited to see where the rest of the year takes me! Al and I have kept busy while staying local this month, and so I thought that it would be fun to carry my “Monthly Lookbacks” into the new year with all of you! It helps me be more aware of what I’m taking in each day, because I’m always looking for interesting things to share with you all! So here we are with the first month of 2018!
January in Review:
While I’m not finished with either book, I’m in the midst of reading two! I don’t normally read two books at the same time, but I was waitlisted at the library for the second one, so I started the first one, but then the second one came…but I only have a handful of weeks with it! So, I’m reading both!
The first is called Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, by Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of the Patagonia company. The book is all about how Patagonia came into fruition, and how they have worked to maintain a company that harms the environment in the least possible way, while supporting other businesses that are trying to do the same thing (like organic cotton farmers). It’s insanely interesting. Patagonia also repeatedly makes the list of the best companies to work for – they were among the first to offer maternal and paternal paid-leave, in-company daycare, and a business model that told it’s employees to go take the day off and surf. Through reading each page, I’m left more and more inspired to buy less. Yvon talks about his clothing, for example, as being items that should last you years and years and years – and when you’re done with it, send them back in to be recycled. We should find multiple purposes for what we own. I could go on and on about this one, but I’ll just suggest that you read it yourself instead and then we can have a book club about it 😉
The other book I’m reading right now is called The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne. This one was selected by the “Book of the Month Club” as one of the top books of 2017, so I thought it must be good! I’m a few chapters in, but it’s about a boy growing up in Ireland, who finds out he was an orphan, so he’s on the journey of figuring out his past, where he came from, and who his parents were. I was captivated from the beginning so I’ll be back to fill you in when I’m finished!
I’ve mentioned this before, but I’d love to try and see one movie per month at the theatre. I grew up working at a movie theatre all throughout high school and college, and just being there feels like home, even if it isn’t my “home” theatre at all. This month, we went to see I, Tonya, in theatres – the story of Tonya Harding. While the movie has some harsh language and abusive scenes, the movie was incredibly well made and completely unique. I loved it. The side-by-side comparisons of the actors with the real-life people was jaw dropping. If you’ve seen the movie, I’m interested to hear your take: do you think Tonya had any part in what went on!?!?
On the television end, Planet Earth 2 is now available on Netflix and it is so good. The episode with the bears scratching themselves on trees after hibernation is definitely my favorite part. The crew and camera equipment this production team has must be incredible – it’d be a dream to work for them someday!
^^this is actually Uncle Bill’s Pancake House in Manhattan Beach, on a thursday morning!
Al and I have actually been cooking up a storm this month! We’re trying really hard to avoid eating out on weekdays as much as possible, and so I’ve found that the easiest way to do so is to make something super delicious on Monday so that we can have leftovers throughout the week. I think we’re lucky, too, that we live so close to work, because it’s easy to come home and eat here rather than packing lunches for the whole week. It also gives me time to throw some things into the crockpot, let it cook for 4-6 hours, and then when we come home from work at 6:00 and 7:00pm, it’s ready to eat! We usually have a pretty ramped-up puppy by the time we get home from work, so it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to cook anything super time-consuming…
But for something different, I’ve made two separate curry recipes from the same blog this month! A yellow curry and a massaman curry (my favorite). Since moving to LA and being exposed to such a variety of food, I think curries have become my favorite! The site I used is –> this one, and it’s easy to type in what you’re searching for (ie: yellow curry). I think I’ll be utilizing this site often! My advice for the yellow curry would be to add in carrots and maybe a little corn starch (thanks gab!) to thicken up the sauce a bit. The massaman curry was bomb, if you like peanuts. A friend from work just gave me her recipe for red curry on the stovetop, so I’ll be trying that one out soon!
(also, I never have photos of the food I’ve made because I’m always too hungry to spend the time making a photo look pretty…sorry!)
A new restaurant we tried out this month is called, Sacks On The Beach, in Redondo/Torrance (I’m never completely sure where the line is between the two). It’s right near my favorite walking area in the southbay, so Al, Marty, and I enjoyed a nice early morning breakfast there (with a beach view!) and then took a nice little stroll in the sun before the Steelers game one morning! They have really good juices if you’re ever looking for a healthy pick me up 😉
Somehow, this is always the most extensive aspect of this list…ha! While this month was alllllllll about the breweries (when you’re out in the sun all day, all you want is a cold beer afterwards, am I right!?), Al and I did make our way downtown one afternoon for a little date time, and we stopped into Stumptown Coffee in the Arts District! Not only is the coffee delicious, but they have this cool little area where you can sit and watch all the giant machines at work and the single guy in there doing all the taste testing (hello dream job!) too. It was a fun little way to spend the afternoon together. I’d love to take a coffee making tour one day…I wonder if they do that!?
On the beer end of it all…we’ve discovered an awesome little brewery in Huntington Beach, Riip Brewing Co, which I’ve mentioned in my last post. We like to go there after the pups run us hard at the beach for a couple of hours (would you guys believe me if I told you Marty ran five miles the other weekend!? No joke! Who knew the little guy could move like that?? Not me!) Some friends came up from San Diego and brought with them an awesome selection of Modern Times beer as well as the news that they just opened another brewery here in our very own Downtown LA!! We’re excited to go try them out because, in my opinion, they’re the best craft beer in the market right now. At least over here on our side of the country. And that’s not the only brewery cropping up in our area! Hermosa Beach finally has it’s own brewery right in town!! Hermosa Brewing Co. just opened up – they’re “nomadic brewers” because they brew with a sister company in Carlsbad. But the beer was good and their food menu looked delicious! We were happy to have our friends Lauren and Pags stop by during a layover coming home from Burma to come test it out with us 😉 And last but not least, we finally stopped into the actual brewery of King Harbor Brewery, as opposed to just the tasting room down in Redondo. It’s like, a 2 mile drive from our home, who knew!? They recently did some renovations so the place is huge and they host a really fun trivia night on Wednesdays! They’re also pup-friendly, which you all know means huge bonus points from me 😉
I am back on the Weaving Wagon this month and was happy to finish my first commissioned piece of the New Year, with two more in the works! And I sold my first piece at the little store in El Segundo! All exciting things!! I’ve been trying to fit in some weaving time into my mornings after I get home from the gym. Al and I take turns taking Marty to the park each morning, so on my “off mornings,” I sit down with my loom, turn on my current favorite Jazz playlist (more on that later), and get to work. Being able to fitness and work creatively before my actual workday starts, always puts me in the best mindset for the day! Make time for what you love!
I mentioned earlier that we stayed local this month, but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t have any adventures! The wonderful thing about living in California is that every weekend can feel like a vacation if you want it to. We count ourselves very lucky to call such a beautiful place home…why would we want to leave it!? We spent a couple of weekends this month down in Huntington Beach – with Al training for his marathon, it’s fun for him to go do his long weekend runs somewhere new, while I exercise the pups! If he runs local, sometimes I strap on my rollerblades and keep him company 😉
With our friends, Rachael and Virgil, visiting from SD, we spent a lot of time with our friends Emily and Erich in Venice! We did a beautiful sunset hike on the Los Liones Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains. I’ve done this trail a few times prior, but never during sunset. It was breathtaking, I recommend it.
And we did a triple date night to the Pens/Kings hockey game this month! Somehow, date nights on weeknights are always extra fun 🙂
I feel especially blessed to have had two sets of visitors this month – Rachael and Virgil, and Lauren and Pags! My married friends! Even if the visits were short, I never take for granted time spent with my moon sisters. I had a fantastic time with them! We’ve also started implementing “game nights” with our neighbors, where we play games like Yahtzee and Catchphrase, Uno, etc… Does this mean we’re getting old??? Either way, I love it.
We’ve hit nine months of marriage! Woo! We’re doing it!! Although I think we can hardly call ourselves “pros” yet, I feel like we’re both discovering the little secrets of marriage everyday, like when Al comes home from the grocery store with fresh flowers in his hand for no reason at all. Or how a Friday night spent at a little Italian restaurant table outside sharing slices of pizza with our pup turn out to be my favorite kinds of nights. Live simply, Enjoy fully. We’re doing just that.
And in other news, Al finally got himself a new car! A small SUV! So we’ve got some serious camping to start planning…who wants to come!?
“Thankful to be here.”
I don’t know what’s been going on with my gym instructors this month, but they have been all about strong female vocals this month and I have totally been on the same page. I need to find out where they get their playlists from and share them with you guys looking for some gym tunes!
I mentioned earlier about my current favorite jazz playlist on Spotify…it’s called Jazz Vibes, and it’s a mix of instrumental hip hop with a little bit of jazz. Anyone that knows me knows that jazz is my secret love – one of the bars down in Hermosa (you might have seen it in La La Land actually!) does Jazz Brunch every Saturday and Sunday, and it’s basically my happy place. Give it a listen if you want some chill background music to your day!
And that’s that! February is off to a fast start already! We’re continuing on with our “World Cup Dinner Nights” this weekend, as well as a Superbowl Get Together! So I’ve got some of my world-renowned (ha!) guacamole to make on Sunday! What are you guys preparing for the Superbowl?? Let me know!
Thanks for stopping by!