10.5 September’s Lookback

I knew that September was going to go by fast, because we had so many different things going on, but I guess I didn’t expect it to go this fast! Time flies when you’re having fun … and working a ton! 😉 I always love this time of year, the anticipation of Fall right before it happens. And although we don’t get a “true Fall” out here in Southern California, it’s this time of year where the beach starts to become empty and the mornings get a little bit chillier, and the best sunsets of the year start to appear. I like to think of it as Mother Nature’s way of thanking all of us locals for sticking around in the off-season 😉 And although we have been so blessed with trips and visitors, my favorite mornings are still the ones where Al and I take Marty to the park and watch him play with all of his best friends. We have our regular crew there now, and we all have started to worry about each other when someone doesn’t show up. It’s a funny sort of thing, but I love it. And I count it in my blessings every single day.




I read a fantastic historic fiction novel this month, titled Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate. If you’re at all familiar with the Tennessee Children’s Home Society scandal that took place in the 1920s through 1950, that is what this story is about. It follows the children in a family as they are plucked from their riverboat shanty home and placed into an orphanage. The chapters switch from present-day to back then, and the story moves so effortlessly, I didn’t want to put it down. Once I got past the first 90 pages or so, I pretty much finished the book in a day. I definitely recommend…and this would be a great book for a book club discussion!



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This month is all about What’s On Netflix! My favorite watch this month was To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before which is about a teen girl who has written unsent love letters to all the boys she’s ever had a crush on … and then one day all of those boys receive those letters. This movie is just fun and really well done. And although it’s maybe intended for a younger audience, I think any young adult could find a little bit of themselves in this flick. Second on the list is Set It Up — a RomCom, finally!!! Has anyone else noticed how few RomComs there have been out lately?? This film is about two assistants who work for pretty tough bosses, and upon meeting, come up with the genius plan of getting their bosses together … so that they can each have more of a social life themselves. I loved this movie…it’s your classic RomCom movie where you can totally predict the ending, but man if it isn’t fun and well-written, and just adorable. If you don’t watch anything else, watch this movie. Thirdly, I finally got around to watching Pixar’s Coco, which was just stunning. The vibrant colors in this movie are in a league of their own. And man is it ever nice to see more ethnicity in children’s movies. Pixar really did a great job with this one — for kids and for adults. A must-see! Some honorable mentions on my Netflix binge this month include: Photo Booth and Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. Both are aimed at a teenage audience which is probably why they only get an honorable mention in my book … but nonetheless they were entertaining while I was sick on the couch battling a bad cold! Netflix has really been hitting it out of the park recently and I’m so thankful for all of the friends who recommend such great views! Thanks!



 A new juice bar opened up near us called Green Tree. It’s a little too convenient, being right on our dog-walking route … buttttt we’ve been pretty good at saying no because the prices are a bit high. Nothing beats a good juice when you’re sick though! They also give you 50 cents off your purchase when you bring your bottles back, which I am all about!

Some of my girlfriends and I wanted to get together for a girls night out one Saturday evening, and since we all live in different parts of LA now, we decided to meet somewhere in the middle, which just so happened to be downtown! We ended up stumbling upon LA’s very own (and oldest) urban winery, per Al’s recommendation! San Antonio Winery has been around since 1917 and luckily for us, they were hosting their second annual Harvest Festival the very night we wanted to hang out! I mean … it only made sense! 😉 After purchasing our tickets online, the four of us met at the winery and spent a couple hours feasting on all the food we could want and drinking all of the wine we could handle! There was even a live band and lots of dancing, and man was it good to be out with the girls again, just the four of us. LA is a big city, and sometimes you forget how hard it can be to get everyone together. But it’s so important to make the effort! We had such a great time that we promised to make this kind of thing happen more often. Although we didn’t actually get inside the winery (but oh, we’ll be back!), we thought the event was more than worth it, and I think we’ll probably be back again in the coming years…




This falafel-spiced chickpea flatbread was delicious, easy to make, and super-filling! Although the tahini yogurt was a little difficult to find, we ended up using it for a ton of other dishes too, so totally worth it! There’s a lot of flavor packed into this dish. And seriously, don’t be fooled by the photo…these little guys fill you up fast!

These watercress and pine nut dumplings were a new challenge for me! We actually had to go to an Asian Market to find the wraps, which ended up being really fun! We had the neighbors over to eat these with us, and although mine didn’t stay together very well, the flavor was really stinkin’ good. I boiled mine, but I think next time I’ll try the steaming method. I thought this would be a really cool meal to have friends over for and make a bunch of different fillings and everyone could pinch together their own!

Al made this zucchini lasagna one night and it was out of this world! Our only recommendation would be to buy more than one zucchini! This is definitely on our “Make Again” list, partly because the ingredients are easy to come by and because it saves so well for the next day!


I made this vegetarian butter tofu for dinner one night and I was legitimately amazed that what I was putting together turned into what was in the photo. And man, was it good. Al and I both agreed it was on par with what we would order at an Indian restaurant. Be warned though, this recipe is a lot of work! Worth it though 😉 We served over brown rice.


And finally, Al and I made this side dish of broccoli-chickpea salad to have with our lunches throughout the week. It’s mostly just a lot of chopping and then you make a dressing and mix it all together. It’s definitely better the longer it sits and soaks in all the flavors. We loved this and would only recommend making more dressing than the recipe calls for!


Local Explorations:

This is a new topic, but I thought we’ve been doing such a good job at checking out local haunts lately, that it should be it’s own topic! I wrote a post early in the month about Madrona Marsh, which you can read all about –> here!

Al and I had some really nice weekends together just the two of us, and one afternoon he took me to Rainforest Flora on Hawthorne — a plant shop right in our own backyard! This is one of those places that we’ve driven by a thousand times but never really noticed. We’re currently on the hunt for a nice-sized plant for our bedroom (still no luck!) and so we stopped into this place. Although we didn’t find what we were looking for, we were shocked at what was inside! It’s just this gorgeous greenhouse with a huge pond and waterfalls in the middle of it. There are turtles swimming and walking around, and huge Koi fish, and the most unique plants that you’ll ever see. And everything is so well-labeled with long descriptions on flowering seasons and best conditions. We walked around the entire place twice because we didn’t want to leave! It’s not a huge place, but definitely worth checking out. I received a really cool handmade wall vase from my mom for my birthday this month, and so I’m going to come back here and pick out a really unique plant to fill it with!




 I wrote an earlier post about our day trip to Big Bear over Labor Day Weekend. You can read about it –> here! Al and I also spent a weekend up in Yosemite National Park for my birthday, but I haven’t gotten around to posting about it yet! My computer died shortly after the trip and so I’ve been a little behind on things, but I promise a fun post on that is coming up!

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And other than our weekend away, I had what felt like a little mini Staycation when my two friends from back in PA, Gabby and Steph, came to visit Thursday – Monday! Gabby has been out here a couple of times already, but this was Steph’s first visit! That’s a lot of pressure 😉 I was so thankful that Gab was able to take the reigns on showing Steph around Friday and Monday while I was at work. She really filled in the blanks well … it’s almost like she lives here herself! 😉 Since we had the weekend together, I took them for a morning hike in the Pacific Palisades on the Los Leones Canyon Trail for some pretty beautiful views of the Southbay. Afterwards we drove up the coast to Malibu and spent some time at El Matador Beach. One of my favorite moments of their trip was just sitting on top of this massive rock while the waves came crashing in below us. It’s so fun getting together with my girlfriends from back home … it always feels like no time at all has passed since we last saw each other. I showed them around Abbott Kinney Blvd in Venice and we got some delicious ice cream at Salt & Straw and we ended the night with wine tasting at my favorite local spot, dinner out, and a night of dancing and 2am pizza 😉 We spent some time running around the dog beach, drinking some beers, and eating some Mexican food. And then we ended our Sunday night sitting on a blanket at the beach, watching the sunset and drinking wine. Now that I’m reliving this whole weekend, I really can’t help but smile. I am so grateful for the little moments like those. And so grateful for such go-with-the-flow friends who are happiest doing even the simplest things. Come back, guys !!!

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I have about a 25-30 minute commute to work everyday right now, so nothing passes the time and eases the road rage better than listening to some Podcasts. Right now my favorites are The Daily and Women On The Road. The Daily is a 25-minute show, five days a week, about the current events of the world, as told through The New York Times journalism. It’s a great way to stay up-to-date on the current events of the political world, especially now as it seems like there are always a million-and-one things happening a day. Women On The Road is a bi-weekly Podcast that interviews different women who are traveling/living on the road, all in different stages of their lives. My friend, Sara, introduced me to this one and I’m so thankful that she did! It’s so refreshing to listen to other peoples’ stories and to hear how they’re handling some of the same issues. This is a sister-podcast to She Explores which is also great!


Celebrating / Loving / Feeling:

Our big celebration this month was my 27th Birthday !! A friend of mine had, months ago, booked a campsite in Yosemite (if you’ve ever tried booking one, then you know how hard to come by these can be), only to find out she couldn’t go due to a wedding. Turns out that the weekend she booked fell on my birthday, and so wa-la! Best birthday gift ever. Al and I spent the whole weekend camping in Yosemite. We made all of our meals beforehand and cooked our dinners over the campfire. We spent our days hiking and driving around the park, and although we didn’t get to do as much hiking as we had hoped (I came down with a nasty bug that weekend!), it was everything I could have ever imagined it to be. This was my first time spending any real time in the park, and it was so fun to see it through the eyes of Al. It’s his favorite place to visit, ever! I swear nothing makes me happier than spending a weekend in a tent with my husband. I’m already itching to take our next camping trip, but I think we might have to wait until the weather starts to warm up again 😉 When we got home from our weekend away, we had Carrot Cake with our neighbors, because that’s really the only way I ever want to spend my birthday! 😉

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We celebrated our wonderful pup, Marty’s, 2nd birthday this month! I wrote all about his Pizza-themed birthday party –> here!



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Al and I are over the moon excited about both of our parents coming to visit us for Thanksgiving this year!! We are already in the planning phase of where to take them and what to do, and what to eat, and what to cook! Ahhh! We can’t wait! I know it’ll be here before we know it! When they gave us word that they were officially coming out, we were so happy! Plus, it was finally the kick in the butt we needed to go out and get a kitchen table finally … ha!!


And there we have it, the end of September and already a week into October! I hope everyone is enjoying all of the Fall things out there! I know we are, even if we haven’t quite gotten the fall weather yet! 😉


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