July is officially over and with it brings the end of one job and the start of another, a baby niece or nephew on the way, some much needed time off and time spent with my husband and pup, and a heart that feels so very full after spending ten full days with family and friends back east. I am one happy gal! Now, for your enjoyment, July’s Lookback List…
JULY IN REVIEW
Back on the reading train, whoop whoop!! Amidst all of my traveling this month, I squeezed in a bit of reading and watching! A friend of mine gave me the book, Brooklyn by Colm Toibin, to read, with hopes that I would check out the movie afterwards. I’m a big fan of reading books before seeing the movie, and now that I’ve finished the book, I’m looking for a platform to watch the movie on! The story is about a young Irish girl who moves to New York City in hopes of finding work and getting a degree. She falls in love not long before tragedy strikes the family and she has to make a visit back to Ireland, where she encounters another love interest… and that is all I’ll say! I enjoyed this book, although I thought the ending felt a little rushed. I’ve heard great things about the movie, so I’m intrigued to see whether or not they followed suit, or if they changed things up a bit! I’ll be back to report!
If you’ve got four spare minutes in your day, I recommend watching Alan Watts’ Life Is Not A Journey lecture on Youtube. There’s a really cool narration that goes along with it. I just think there’s some really worthwhile points made, and I hope you’ll leave feeling inspired 🙂
While home, my parents and I went to see Ant Man and The Wasp in theatres, starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly. I actually hadn’t seen the first Ant Man movie…or The Avengers (oops), but I didn’t have any problem at all following what was going on! I feel like most comic book movies do a pretty good job getting the viewer up to speed in a quick recap at the beginning. I’m a big Paul Rudd fan, so I was glad to see a lot of humor in this movie! Sometimes I think action/superhero movies take themselves too seriously… I recommend this film if you’re just looking for something fun and entertaining to watch! And if you want to see some serious Girl Power…which, who doesn’t ?! 😉
While staying with my friends, Lauren and Mat, in Richmond, we stayed in one night and watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starring, Dwayne Johnson (my favorite), Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan. Guys…I was belly laughing throughout this entire movie. Holy cow it was so good. I wasn’t even expecting that much from it! I can’t even say one of the main cast members steals the show, because they all have their moments! This movie was so fun.
Glow, Season 2 has finally hit Netflix (it’s a Netflix Original) and it could not have come at a better time! It stands for “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling” and is set in the mid-80s in LA. It follows a group of female actresses who get casted in a female wrestling show. I thought season 1 was great, but honestly, season 2 was 1 billion times better. I couldn’t stop watching it, and now I just wish I had more episodes to watch! Isn’t that how tv-binging goes though?? If you try to watch this and it isn’t peaking your interest, give it a few episodes, because I promise you it’s worth it!
There has been lots and lots of eating going on around here! Here in LA we have been on the biggest ice cream kick EVER, and I think it has something to do with the crazy heat waves we’ve been living through. We checked out a brand new ice cream sandwich joint in Hermosa called The Baked Bear and it was sooooo good. You get to pick your cookies and your ice cream and all the toppings you want on it. I may have gone a little overboard with mine, but #worthit. We also checked out (new to us), Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt in Torrance because they do a Tuesday 2.50 deal! Ice cream cones with two scoops for 2.50 each…you’ll know you’re in the right place because there will be a huge line! I ordered the Chocolate Peanut Butter, and I gotta say guys, this takes the cake. It’s the best chocolate peanut butter I’ve had in the area! The PB chunks are REAL and creamy! I told Al we have to go back every Tuesday now…
We also took a Saturday to check out the Greek Food Festival that’s held in Redondo/Torrance every year! While I didn’t get a gyro, I did fill up on grape leaves (my fav) and desserts (so good) and was mesmerized by the Greek dancing going on! Another night, while Al’s dad was in town with us visiting, he took us to dinner at Terranea. It was as if the sky knew he was visiting, because we were blessed with the most gorgeous sunset of all time while we were up there! We felt so happy to have so many family visitors this summer! Al and I also went to Benihana’s for the first time ever! Ha! We celebrated Laur’s birthday with her and Josh and we had a blast! The food was great and the show was even better! 😉 I think maybe we’ve found a new birthday tradition around here…
While I was home in PA, I had a full week between two weddings, so I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Richmond, VA with my friends Lauren and Mat! It was so great finally getting to see their new place and meeting their adorable new puppy, Charley! Laur didn’t disappoint with the Richmond food and drink tour 😉 That town is so adorable…I was falling in love with all the old brick buildings in town! I wanted to scoop one up and bring it back to LA with me to live in! While we were there we had some of the best BBQ of my life at ZZQ BBQ where we got the works! And later on we grabbed ice cream (told you it’s been a month of ice cream!) at Scoop.
Since we spent a good deal of time with company or out of the state this month, our new recipe game was a little weak! Most of our meals have consisted of grilling out back – steak, salmon, sausage…you name it! – with salad sides and lots of fresh veggies. But some recipes we did manage to cook up included:
This Slow Cooker Vegetable Curry with Chickpeas that we threw into the crockpot. This lasted us a few days and we were able to share with the neighbors too. While I liked it, I think next time I would add a little more spice!
Al found this Crockpot Lasagna recipe and we were amazed at how delicious it was! He claims it’s the best lasagna he’s ever made! We’ll be adding this one to our “Make Again” list. For all you East Coasters, I think this is a perfect snowy day recipe to pin for the winter months!
And while in Richmond, Laur and I bonded over our love for all things Chip and Joanna Gaines, and made her famous biscuits from the Magnolia Table cookbook! These were so good. I’m planning on making some more this week to pair with some homemade blueberry jam from a recipe my mom used!
In Richmond, Laur took me to Buskey Cidery, where we drank flights of delicious ciders and played Yahtzee while it poured outside! And then we spent our sunny afternoon at Ashton Creek Winery with a flight of pours outside on the patio…all while accompanied by her 3-and-a-half-month-old puppy, Charley! I usually gravitate towards beer over ciders, but now I’m thinking maybe I just hadn’t had good ciders before this place. All of the tasters I got were really different and delicious! And I always love a good winery…apparently there are quite a few in the area!
While home in Harrisburg, I made all my regular stops: Troegs Brewery in Hershey, Little Amps Coffee in downtown Harrisburg, St. Thomas Roasters in Linglestown and Millworks’ rooftop beer garden in Midtown! It was so much fun spending time in these places with my family and friends … it’s always especially fun to take people to these places for the first time! Spending so much time downtown made me reminisce about my last summer spent in Harrisburg, because I spent so much time in that area!
This month I was lucky enough to take a full week off and head back to the East Coast for two weddings: my cousin, and one of my best friends! It was so nice being able to spend some time in Harrisburg with my parents and friends, and even though most people probably would have been bummed about the incessant rain we had while there, I wasn’t! We don’t get much rain here in LA, so being able to fall asleep to the sound of it, or sit out on the back porch and listen to and watch it, was so refreshing to me. That, and everything was so GREEN! Like, the greenest greens I’ve ever seen. I miss that about the east coast: the green. Luckily, the rain held off for half a day so that my friend, Gabby, and I could spend the morning walking her new rescue pup around Wildwood Nature Reserve. It’s a 3 mile loop and we grew up going here allllll the time with our parents. It was incredible to finally see it looking lush again! (thank you rain!!). It was also fun spending some time with friends at one of the local diners, spending a Friday by the pool with Alex’s family, and spending time at home cooking seafood and playing cards with my parents. I think I really needed that week 🙂
And as I mentioned before, I spent a few days in Richmond, VA with my friends Lauren and Mat! I took the Greyhound bus from Harrisburg to Richmond one evening, and it was an easy trip! I am so thankful that they opened up their home to me for a couple of days. It’s just so easy hanging out with them, they make my heart feel full 🙂
Celebrating, Loving, & Feeling!:
Earlier this month, after months and months of practice and training, Marty and I passed his Canine Good Citizen’s Test! The test consists of ten testing points; some of them are basic commands like sitting and staying, walking loosely on a leash, and coming when called. But then there are some tougher testing points, like walking through a crowd without stopping to see everyone, meeting a stranger with another dog and not saying hello while the owners shake hands and chat, and then being left with a stranger for a few minutes without showing any signs of distress. I am happy to report that Marty passed with flying colors! The main reason we were training for this certificate is because it is a pre-requisite for all Therapy Dog Classes! I always told Al that the next dog we got, I wanted to be a therapy dog. And then when Marty came into our lives and we discovered his temperament and his need for cuddles, I took it as a clear sign that this is what we were meant to do! Classes will begin sometime in the fall, and they won’t be easy! But all the work will be worth it if someday we’re spending our time at Children’s Hospital, bringing a little bit of cheer to those kids in need.
We celebrated our favorite California Laur’s 30th birthday this month! We accompanied her and Josh on a date night to Benihana’s and we had a blast! Laur is a regular reader here on this little blog of mine, and I am so damn thankful for the friendship that has blossomed between us. Even though we live literally right next door to each other (we share a wall)! there’s not a day that goes by where we don’t text about something completely random. It’s funny, making friends in your adult life…there are a lot of people that you meet who come and go, but sometimes you find people who you just know are going to be a staple in your life for the long haul. Laur is one of those friends.
We celebrated the Fourth of July (obviously) this month! Our town actually did fireworks on the 1st of the month since it fell on a Sunday. This was nice because my brother was still in town and we had just gotten back from our weekend in Sequoia, so we joined the crew, grabbed some subs at our favorite deli in Hermosa (Mickey’s!), and headed to a rooftop to watch the display! And then, since we had the 4th off from work, we went out on the 3rd and then spent the 4th at the beach and BBQing in our backyard! To me, there’s no better way to spend the holiday than that!
This was the month of weddings!!! The first one we celebrated was my cousin, Leah’s wedding, in Chambersburg. It was a beautiful ceremony, and of course Leah looked stunning. It was also so nice getting to spend the evening with my mom’s side of the family! We don’t get to see our relatives nearly enough!! We spent the night laughing and drinking wine, and telling stories. And getting to see some of our cousins, all grown up, was one of the best parts. The second wedding I attended (Al flew back to CA after the first!) was my lifelong friend, Daniela’s marriage to her High School Sweetheart! I’ve known D since the third grade…we’ve been through a lot together! And although we parted ways for high school, we never missed a beat, and ended up being freshman year roommates at Pitt. She, Lauren, and I were pretty much inseparable during our growing up years. She got married in a beautiful church in downtown Harrisburg, and put a few Polish traditions into the reception…it was a truly beautiful day. It was cool too, because her husband actually went to our grade school as well! So there were a lot of guests there on his side that I knew! What was extra special though, was the number of our Pitt friends that could make it! Everyone flew or drove in from all over the country, and we split everyone up between my parents’ house and Laur’s. I am so thankful for getting to spend both Friday and Saturday with everyone! They are all doing such amazing things in their lives, and it was so cool being able to actually sit down and hear about it all face to face. I have some pretty amazing friends in my life.
Not much new to report on the “listening” front here this month! I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz music, but nothing specific. I’m also starting a new job this month and I’ll have a little bit of a commute (longer than the one mile I’m used to! Ha!) so I’m looking for some good Podcast recommendations…preferably ones that are about 20-25 minutes long each day. Thanks in advance!
Thanks for stopping by!