Well, here we are in the middle of July and I’m just now getting around to compiling June’s Lookback List! Between three weekends spent away, a brother visiting for ten days, and a week full of altitude sickness, this month has been one for the books! But I’ll tell you what, I think it’s been my favorite month out of the year so far 😉 Because even with all of the weekend trips, I feel like I’ve spent so much time with the people I love, all while experiencing brand new things. Those are the best kinds of moments, I think.
JUNE, IN REVIEW:
I think I am finally off of my reading hiatus! My friend, Kaylie, sent to me via snail mail Into The Water, by Paula Hawkins. She’s the same author who wrote Girl On The Train which I loved. Those murder mysteries always suck me right in! While it was tough to find the time to read with so many trips and visitors, I got to a point where I couldn’t put it down, and ended up getting up early one morning just to finish it! I have a couple more books on my “To Read” list, and a long trip to the east coast planned for this month, so I’m hoping I can snag them from the library in time!
While I haven’t had much time to watch tv or go to the movies lately, Al and I did squeeze in a little date to Staples Center one Saturday night to watch a live boxing match! A friend of mine got us tickets to the event and it was both of our first time at this sort of event! We’ve been to WWE shows and Al has been to UFC fights, but never boxing! It was a great time…the two Main Event matches we saw were completely different from one another, but both incredibly entertaining to watch…it was fun to get out just the two of us and do something we’ve never done before!
One thing Al and I have been putting more of an emphasis on with our cooking lately, is adding more vegetarian dishes to our repertoire! We still regularly are cooking meat, but we’re trying to eat a little less of it, as there are so many amazing vegetarian dishes out there these days and so many added health benefits! I work with a lot of gals who are vegetarian, so luckily they always point me towards the best websites to check out.
This Protein Packed Buddha Bowl was one of my favorites! Jimbo helped out with this recipe while he was in town. We love chickpeas around here…they’re packed with protein and super filling…and I loved the little bit of crunchiness to these ones! This recipe also includes tofu, so you can see how it’s “protein packed”! Don’t forget to add the fresh lime juice at the end like I did 😉
This Slow Cooker Moroccan Chickpea Stew was a favorite of both Al and I, cus it was super filling and made a lot! We ate it I think for the next two days for lunches! We like ours over quinoa or brown rice!
Thai Peanut Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl. The sauce on this one guys, is so.good. And it makes a heavy amount of it, so you can grill up some chicken too and pour this sauce over it if you need a little meat in your life! One of Al’s favorite foods is sweet potatoes, so this recipe was one of his picks this month 😉
Healthy Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Mexican Quinoa. Are you guys noticing a trend in our cooking this month!? Ha! Lots of sweet potatoes and lots of quinoa! My favorite part about this recipe was how uninvolved it is. Sometimes slow cooker recipes (or any recipes, really) can get really complicated and time-consuming. And sometimes we just don’t have the time to dedicate to prepping! This one is about as easy as it gets – you throw all the ingredients into the crockpot, and then when it’s close to dinner time, throw on some quinoa, and you’re ready! These are my favorite kinds of recipes to prep over our lunch break for that night’s dinner!
Since the closing of not one, but TWO of our favorite locally-owned coffee shops in our area, our coffee dates have really been dwindling the last year or so. Luckily, a coworker of mine mentioned the cutest little coffee shop in El Segundo that I’ve mentioned on this blog before – Blue Butterfly. Every now and then Al and I like to get up early on a Saturday and take our pup to Blue Butterfly for a coffee and a bagel. Afterwards, the three of us walk around the gorgeous streets of El Segundo and take in all of the unique homes and giant trees. It’s become one of my very favorite things. This month, when my brother Jim was visiting, we got to do this same thing on a weekday before I had to head into work! We found one extra special street that Jim appropriately named “The Jumanji Street” because of the dense trees and plants that seemed to hide all of the homes. That was one of my favorite mornings of his entire trip 🙂
In terms of wine, my neighbor Laur and I have been on quite the Rose kick! I think it’s the extreme heat we’ve been having…but nothing quite beats hanging out in the backyard under our big umbrella drinking a couple glasses of cold rose 😉
^^did you guys know they make personal sizes of Black Box wine!? They do! These are even better than the cans because you can close them up if you don’t finish them!^^
Locally, we filled up a Jim weekend with a Saturday morning at Huntington Dog Beach with our neighbors, Josh and Laur…and Banjo of course 😉 We had a great time running around with the pups before grabbing a beer at Riip Brewing Co. The next morning we headed north into Hollywood to hike Runyon Canyon – one of Jim’s favorite spots in LA! It had been closed the last time he was visiting, so we had to make sure we went this time around! I lucked out with the best parking spot of my entire Runyon-Canyon-career 😉 and we hiked the trails before enjoying a much-deserved lunch at Spitz in Studio City. Afterwards, we checked out Al’s music studio and got to watch him jam for a little while…while taking some time to jam out on the drums ourselves 😉
We got up early one Thursday morning to run a race in Long Beach – about 25 minutes south of us. Jim wanted to squeeze in a half marathon while he was here (he’s crazy, I know), and he found this nice little one on a weekday morning! It worked out perfectly because we could get back in time for me to get to work, and I could run one of the shorter races they offered! I opted for the 5k 😉 Every year my brother runs the Philadelphia Full Marathon right around Thanksgiving…I’m always so bummed that I can’t ever be there to cheer him on, so this was a nice alternative … he is such an amazing runner, he makes it look so easy!
In terms of weekends away,
I spent the first weekend of the month with a quick trip to Philly for my friend, D’s, bachelorette weekend! I took a red eye on Friday night and got in early on Saturday morning, just in time for the festivities to begin! We spent the night at D’s place, and the day and evening hopping around the city to different bars, bowling alleys, and restaurants! My favorite was Bok Bar — a rooftop bar on top of an old school in South Philly. The school has since been renovated to house a variety of businesses, from art studios to coffee shops, but the hallways have remained the same! It’s really something special. The views from the roof though are unmatched…it was so much fun getting to hang out there with all the gals! And an added bonus was that my brother’s mural was just down the street, so we got to stop there and admire his work too 😉 The weekend was quick, but it was so worth it to be able to celebrate Little D and be surrounded by such fun girlfriends!
We spent the third weekend of the month hiking Mt. Whitney! I blogged allllll about it –> here! I spent the week afterwards pretty much on the couch and in the bathroom, battling the after-affects of altitude sickness!
And then my brother and I spent the last weekend of the month in Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park! This is a trip worthy of it’s own post, (I have SO many photos to share) so I’ll save all the details for next time…stay tuned!
LOVING & FEELING:
^^sometimes you make plans to take your brother & friend to The Getty for the first time for sunset..only to find out they close early on Sundays. So you opt for the beach instead. Turns out, wine tastes the same on the beach as it would have at The Getty! 😉 ^^
This month has been full of beach sunsets – and I’ve loved every single one of them! Somehow, even after almost four years here in California, they never get old. Each one is even more beautiful than the last.
I am feeling so incredibly blessed to have had my brother out here this month! I feel lucky enough to call both of my brothers my best friends, and the fact that Jim has made the trip out to see me three of my four summers since living out here, means the world to me. We have the best time when we’re together. There’s no stress or urgency to do things – he’s content just hanging out at the house, walking along the beach, or grabbing some Brothers Burritos in Hermosa 😉 I was thrilled that we got to experience Sequoia for the first time together – he has a way of making me see things through a different perspective (I think it’s the artist in him), and I think I maybe gave him the hiking bug a little bit….which makes me So. Stinkin’. Happy. 😉
I also have to take a second to brag about how talented my brother is…he embroidered this!! His first time ever trying the craft!! So incredible, right?! We love it and think it looks pretty great on our new living room gallery wall 🙂
It was Pride Month this month! We are so thankful for the LGBTQ Community — you bring so much love and light into the world and we support you all! Thank you for being so brave in a society that isn’t so accepting sometimes.
I can’t forget to mention a Happy Father’s Day to my dad!! Unfortunately, we were climbing Mt. Whitney on Fathers Day, but I was able to give my dad a call later that week…and had some good stories to tell him! The hardest part about living far from family, is definitely not being able to be there for all of the holidays or big life events, but I’m thankful for technology, like Facetime, that makes the distance a little easier sometimes! And I’m looking forward to spending some time with both of my parents in PA this month! For those of you who don’t know my dad, he’s the best. And for those of you who do know him, then you already know he’s the best 😉
We also celebrated Al’s 31st Birthday this month! Although I was sicker than I think I’ve ever been (I felt terrible that he ended up taking care of me on his birthday!), I was still able to whip up his favorite birthday cake tradition: Banana Cake! The neighbors came over and we all sang my wonderful husband a happy birthday. I feel like, oftentimes, birthdays can get overcomplicated, and I’m thankful for a husband who doesn’t mind keeping things simple. He’s my favorite person in the world; and I’m excited to see where his 31st year takes him.
This month, I’ve been listening to a band called Wild Child. More specifically, their newest album, entitled “Expectations.” They’re an indie-pop band, but I think they have a really unique sound, and I’ve been enjoying the different paces set on this album. Give it a listen!
And that’s a wrap for June…mid-July! Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks recaps coming soon! Thanks for stopping by!