I don’t know about all of you guys, but August has been an interesting month for me! I spent the first two weeks of the month enjoying some time off work between gigs, and the last three weeks of the month at a new job with a longer commute, as well as helping out my previous job during the night shift when they need me! As with anything new, it’s been an adjustment for sure. But I’ve got a secret weapon to it all: an incredible husband who takes the time to bring me dinner each night or show up with Thai takeout, pups, and friends. He takes care of all the house stuff while I’m gone, and he always makes sure to give Marty all the attention he needs. Sometimes I wonder how I ever managed to tackle life without him, but then I remember that he’s my inspiration for working hard and for going after my aspirations. I think everyone needs an Al in their life 😉
Nonetheless, August has proved to be one of my very favorite months of 2018! I enjoyed every minute of my time off – balancing it with productivity and fun – and even managed to squeeze in a few trips while I was at it! But I’m also happily welcoming September and our busy weekend schedules for the next two months!
AN AUGUST LOOKBACK
This month I read a fantastically fun read, titled, Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple. This is just one of those easy, fun reads that you can get done in a weekend. I found myself up late each night trying to squeeze just a few more pages in before the day was done. Most of the book is told through funny e-mail correspondences, letters, legal documents, etc. with a few interludes by Bernadette’s daughter, Bee. Bernadette mysteriously goes missing just a few days before a planned family trip to Antarctica, and Bee is determined to find out where she went. This one is just fun…the perfect summer read…I loved it.
I mentioned last month that I was reading the book, Brooklyn, and that I was excited to see the film. It was one of the first things I did this month! I loved the movie. I thought the casting was perfect, and while some things were left out from the novel (as they always are), I thought the story moved smoothly. And you know what? I actually enjoyed the ending to the movie much more than the book! And that’s a rarity for me! I thought they tied it all up better. This film is available on Amazon Prime for a rental fee.
Kristen Bell has a wonderful new movie on Netflix called Like Father. Bell plays a workaholic woman in NYC who is left at the altar on her wedding day. Her estranged father shows up and takes her out to reconnect and get her mind off of things. After a few too many drinks, the two wake up aboard the cruise that Bell had planned as her honeymoon. This was just a fun make-you-laugh-then-make-you-cry movie. Seth Rogan also makes an appearance, and I love that these big celebrities are doing smaller budget Netflix movies these days. And I always love a good RomCom.
I finally got around to watching Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I know, I know…but better late than never, right!? While I enjoyed this film (Frances McDormand is such a talent to watch), I thought there were a lot of awkward acting moments by some of the other characters. Not enough to take me out of the film though. Sam Rockwell also puts on an amazing performance.
We spent an evening at the actual movie theatre this month to catch Crazy, Rich Asians. I had originally planned to read the book before seeing the movie, but was number 37 in line at the library, sooooo the movie came first! This is such a fun, over the top, fantastic movie, with pretty much a full Asian cast, which is so refreshing to see, up on the big screen. Peik Lin Goh really steals the show, in my opinion, as Rachel’s best friend. If you’re looking to go to the movies and suspend disbelief for a couple hours, and laugh your head off at some points, go see this film. I haven’t heard a single negative thing about it from anyone yet.
I’ve finally jumped on board the Grace and Frankie train on Netflix! This show stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston, and Martin Sheen and follows two couples in their seventies. The husbands are law partners and ask their wives to meet them for dinner one night to make a big announcement. The wives (who could not be more indifferent towards one another), thinking their husbands are going to make the big retirement announcement, are shell-shocked when they learn that their husbands are leaving them both … for each other. The show follows the two men in their seventies as they navigate being openly gay together for the first time, as well as the two women, as they learn to lean on the last person they would have ever expected: each other. This show is hilarious. I think it has something for everyone, and while I’m only a handful of episodes into the first season, it’s just something light to watch after a long day at work.
We went up to Ventura County to celebrate a friends birthday at a new (to us) brewery, called MadeWest Brewing Co. We had a great time celebrating, and really enjoyed getting to try out a new brewery in LA! The beer is good, there are always food trucks on site, dogs are allowed, and you can even rent out one of the rooms for events at no charge!
We tried out a lot of new vegetarian dishes this month! Since I’ve been working so much, it’s super important to me to make healthy meals that I can grab and go throughout the week. Another thing Alex and I have been taking advantage of this month has been the free grocery delivery that our Vons has been offering! It’s a new program they’ve begun, and so we keep hitting their promotional offers, like $25 off our order, so it seems like a no-brainer! What I love about it is that I can fill my cart on the app or the website from my couch, so it makes meal-prepping super easy. I can refer back to all of my recipes online and add items as I go, and I can easily check the kitchen to see if we need something or not! This was especially convenient to us on our drive back from San Francisco. We knew that we would be getting in late, and that work was early the next morning, so we placed our order in the car ride home, and our groceries arrived Monday morning before we left for work! Piece of cake!
This Veggie Pot-Pie was good, and it’s versatile! Meaning, you pretty much have free reign on whatever kinds of veggies you want to add to it. I thought this was a really good way to use up any leftover vegetables I had had from the week prior. My only recommendations would be: 1) more salt. And 2) to spread into a smaller dish before baking than the recipe specifies. It’ll make the meal thicker, and I think will balance out with the pastry sheet better.
This Cauliflower Chickpea Risotto was the bomb.com, and I’m already looking for an excuse to make it again!! You do most of the cooking on the stovetop, and then transfer your mixture to the crockpot for 2 hours. So while it’s not a “fix it and forget it” type dish, it’d be perfect to throw in while you do some other things around the house or run a couple of errands. A friend of mine isn’t much into chickpeas, so she’s going to substitute them with Edamame…I’m excited to hear how hers turns out! This recipe also saves really well … we ate it throughout the entire week! The sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top before serving is definitely a must-do!
I ended up picking out this Cauliflower Hash recipe because I already had all of the ingredients from the one above! Don’t you love when that happens? This makes a great side dish and is quick and easy to prepare. I think it would also be good as a breakfast side!
I wrote a post earlier this month about the homemade blueberry jam I made. You can find that recipe –> here.
And lastly, I had just a little bit of coconut milk leftover in the fridge and wanted to use it up before it went bad, so I found this simple Coconut Curry recipe that I ended up halving for myself. I cooked it up, made up any leftover veggies I had in the fridge about to go bad, and then combined the two and let them soak overnight. I took it to work and poured over some rice…ta da! Curry is probably my favorite food – any and all types of curry – so I’m always looking for any reason to make it, and I think it’s a great way to use up whatever is in your fridge before your next grocery run!
It’s so funny how, as you get older, you really come to love cooking. It’s one of my favorite activities during the week now! I throw on some jazz music and just start cooking. It’s calming, really.
We tried out a new restaurant in El Segundo this month, called, Britt’s BBQ, right on the main street there. There were four of us, so we ordered three of their Combo meals, and it was the perfect amount of food! We all felt like this place was a real hidden gem because the food is so insanely good but it’s at a really really affordable price point. The staff there is beyond friendly – they brought us free dessert! – and they have a BYOB policy. If you’re in El Segundo, I definitely recommend checking this place out for a filling meal.
While in San Francisco for the weekend, Laur took us to her favorite lunch spot: Submarine Center where we had, in my opinion, probably the best sub of my life. The place is tiny and completely family-run, but they have a system and they get you your food quickly, and it does not disappoint! I would have gone back there every day for lunch if I could have! I ordered The Atomic sub.
Speaking of San Francisco! We spent a weekend in SF with our neighbors, Laur and Josh, and the pups! Laur was heading up that way to throw a bridal shower for her best friend, and asked if we wanted to come along and hang for the weekend. I think it was meant to be because it turned out that the Pirates were playing the Giants up there at the same time, so how could we say no!? We had the best weekend. What we love so much about Laur and Josh is how easy-going they are about everything. We had just gotten back from our backpacking adventure, so we were all about just taking things slow and enjoying some time off, and that’s exactly what we did! Josh was a great tour guide while Laur was on Bridesmaid duties. He took us to Fort Funston to let the pups run around in the biggest dog-friendly park I had ever seen in my life (no seriously, this place was paradise), and showed us around Haight Street and Hippie Hill, the Mission District, and Twin Peaks. We even got to spend some time soaking up the sun in Dolores Park, which I had heard so much about from Laur since meeting her. They took us out to a really wonderful dinner where we got to dress up and be fancy for a night, and then met her sister out for some drinks! And we got to see the famous AT&T Park, which reminded me a lot of PNC Park. It is so cool getting to see such a big city like SF through the eyes of someone who has lived their whole there and knows it like the back of their hand. Getting to have subs at the place where Laur and her friends would go after school every Friday, or hanging out on the lawn with the dogs at the local park…those were my favorite moments. I have a whole different appreciation for that city now!
I wrote a whole post about our Split Mountain Backpacking Adventure, which you can read –> here!
^^red rocks right before hitting the lone pine area…there’s lots of great camping spots in this area!^^
I found time to weave not one, but two (!!) weavings this month! This first piece I ended up selling before it was even off the loom! This second one, I have plans to remove from the loom this week! I was following a Weave Along prompt, but added my own little twist with a splash of yellow 😉
I’ve been on a huge Mt. Joy kick, as well as The Marcus King Band. Mt. Joy was started by two Philadelphia natives, and has turned into an indie folk sound with a little bit of soulful rock. I’ve been digging it. The Marcus King Band is this really interesting combination of American roots music and southern rock, but also has kind of this jazzy vibe to it. The frontman has a Leon-Bridges type of voice, so, all of these things combined, makes for a really cool listening experience. Check em’ out!
This month we welcomed into the world, my first niece, Isla Everette! She was born on August 2nd, and my brother and sister-in-law are over the moon. Getting pictures from them daily is my favorite part about being an Aunt so far, but naturally I couldn’t wait any longer to meet her, and so I’ve booked a quick weekend trip in October already to go see her! It’s so crazy to think that my big brother is a dad… One of my favorite relationships in my life is that between myself and my dad, so I’m excited to watch the same kind of bond form between him and Isla.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first two weeks off of work this month, and just the act of being home in my own neighborhood! I think we all tend to get caught up in always “going somewhere,” and today it’s especially easy to fill up our weekends fast, but there’s always something so calming about just staying home. Doing things like walking at the beach, rollerblading, or taking Marty for walks makes me appreciate where I live more than anything else. One of my very favorite moments from the whole month was an afternoon spent in the park with the pups, just reading a book. Al came down to join us, and we had a little picnic just the two of us in the park. I’m just so very thankful for moments like that one.
And speaking of being thankful…I could not be more grateful to have a couple of awesome gal friends at work these days! It’s so nice to have a couple of familiar faces around the office. We found a small park near the office and so every afternoon, we take our lunches out and eat in the sunshine. It’s a great hour-long escape from an office room with zero windows 😉 I feel so lucky to work with such independent and strong women everyday!
^^we’ve started giving Marty a little more freedom in the apartment this month with a baby gate we purchased on Amazon…so far so good! We feel so much better leaving him at home with some space to get up and stretch instead of being in his crate for a few hours ^^
September is already off to a quick start! We took advantage of our Labor Day Weekend with a day trip to Big Bear (more to come), we have a birthday weekend planned in Yosemite after falling into a campsite, and I have some friends from back East coming into town on two separate occasions! Something tells me that I’m gonna be back here writing September’s Lookback List before I even know it 😉
Happy Fall, everyone! Enjoy those Pumpkin Spiced Lattes! 😉