Hello all! I’m going to try and keep this month’s Lookback Post on the shorter side today! For two reasons, one being that I’ve already touched on some things in previous posts (ie. our hiking adventures!) and two, I want to do a separate post on our very first Parents Week! I have a ton of photos to share from everything that we packed into seven days, and I didn’t want it to all get lost in the shuffle of this post!
NOVEMBER IN REVIEW
My neighbor and I attended an early morning matinee (hello cheap ticket prices!) of A Star Is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. It was fantastic, as I’m sure you’ve all either heard or seen already. If you go, bring your fair share of tissues…you’ll need ’em.
An incredible docu-series was released on Netflix this month called Dogs. It’s a six episode series (roughly 1 hour each) that follows six completely different storylines. The first episode — all about service dogs who are bred and raised to be paired with children with disabilities — had me in tears nearly the entire episode. What I love most about this series though, is how it has been edited. It’s edited slowly, to give the viewer time to really digest what is going on. Nowadays, I feel like most television content tries to just shove as much information at you as quickly as possible. But this series has silent moments throughout. It’s really something. Even if you aren’t a dog person, I urge you to give this series a watch! There are some really amazing stories out there from all over the world. I’ve watched each episode so far with Marty curled up at my side!
We went down to San Diego this month to celebrate a friend’s birthday at a local brewery down there called Booze Brothers Brewing Co. What’s interesting about this place is that all of their beer is gluten-free! The ambiance was great, the beer was tasty, and there was a food truck on site selling really delicious burgers and fries! We had a great time celebrating Heather’s birthday and making some new friends!
I’ve recently become obsessed with a new cooking blog called The Modern Proper. The first recipe I tried out by them was the Curried Cauliflower, which turned out pretty well! I do, however, like a little more spice in my curry, so I think I would add a little something to this one if I made it again.
A friend of mine recommended this Kitchari recipe, which means “mixture” (usually of two grains). In this case, it’s mung beans (I substituted red lentils) and brown basmati rice. This mixture is supposed to be a very nourishing meal and great for digestion. What I love most about it is that everything is cooked in one single pot! What I love second-most about it is that you can make it differently every time by using different vegetables! I’ve used cauliflower and carrots, and then I’ve used broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms. Both times it turned out really well. It has a porridge-like consistency to it, so you can choose to eat it for breakfast if you’d like!
Al and I have been working on our own little kitchen herb garden (although I think that ship has sailed for the winter season) and we wanted to use our basil, so we cooked up an easy pepperoni pizza with basil! We usually will buy Naan bread at the grocery store and make our pizzas that way, but we’re always up to try out new pizza crusts. Sometimes dinner just needs to be that easy 😉
We made these delicious beef lettuce cups in the crockpot. I recommend using butter lettuce because it will hold your mixture really easily. These would also make a great appetizer if you’re having people over!
And lastly, my parents granted our Christmas wish early this month and bought us a new grill!! The grill we’ve been using here at the Redondo Condo has been passed down from tenant to tenant, neighbor to neighbor, probably for the last eight or nine years! While it’s been a great grill and has served us many a great BBQ, it was time for a new one! So now we’re finding any excuse we can to throw all kinds of meats and vegetables on our shiny new grill! Thanks mom and dad!
You can read one of my earlier posts, Four Hikes For Your Four-Legged Friends to read all about some really great hikes we did this month, including Hummingbird Trail in Simi Valley, Bluffs Creek Trail in Playa Vista, and Portuguese Bend and Forrestal Nature Preserve, both in Palos Verdes. We love hiking this time of year because the temperatures are just a liiiittttle bit cooler!
Every year, on a Wednesday in November, Manhattan Beach hosts their annual Pier Lighting. They line the pier with real Christmas trees and Christmas lights, and install a big fake tree on top of the Roundhouse Aquarium. The evening is filled with carolers and bands, reindeer and Santa Claus, hot chocolate and champagne, and lots of deals in the town’s Small Businesses. I’ve gone every year since moving out here — my first year, I even went by myself! — and this year was no different. My neighbor, Lauren, and I went down for a bit before grabbing dinner together. It’s one of my favorite Southbay traditions.
Speaking of … The Roundhouse Aquarium on Manhattan Beach Pier is now officially reopened after some major renovations! They have really outdone themselves and it’s a complete 180 from what it used to be. If you’re in the area and have 20 minutes or so to spare, go check it out and drop a couple of bucks in the donation box!
I finished up a custom weaving order this month that I have absolutely loved working on during my mornings. I’m so happy with the end result and I hope it makes a great Christmas present for somebody! Our guest bedroom was tripling as a guest bedroom, my workspace, and Al’s music hangout … but now he’s got a real studio space with a friend so the room has opened up to be my very own studio (and guest bedroom)! I’ve been having so much fun just moving around existing furniture to create a really cozy little workspace for myself and I’m looking forward to spending lots more time in there writing and creating!
I wrote a post earlier this month about a Sunday Day Trip we took to The Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain. You can read about it –> here! We took another little day trip here at the beginning of December and now I’m starting to think that we should make this a monthly tradition …. hmmmm…
It has been Christmas music on repeat around here since November 1st !! (Even though Alex maybe isn’t the biggest Christmas music fan … he tolerates it for me!) My favorite new album this year is John Legend’s album: A Legendary Christmas. It has a bit of a jazzy feel to it, which you know I am all about! Some of my other favorite Christmas albums include Pentatonix, Michael Buble, and Mariah Carey. Johnnyswim also has a really fantastic collection of Christmas tunes … Al and I might even catch them live later this month in LA!
CELEBRATING / LOVING / FEELING:
Although I couldn’t be there for the surprise party, we celebrated my mom turning 60 this month! My brother sent me this photo from the end of the night, and it’s one of my favorites. I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t talk to my mom, so it was a little difficult to keep this one from her 😉 but my dad and brother really pulled it off! Happy Birthday, Mom! I don’t know what I would do without your constant love, support, and advice. I am so thankful we got to spend a week together this month, I love you!
We celebrated Thanksgiving this month and I have to say, having our parents all here made me feel so incredibly thankful for the time spent with them. It gets hard being away from family every day of the year, I just wanted to soak up all the time that I could with them here. More on our wonderful Thanksgiving Week next post, I promise!
Overall, I just love this time of year — how it brings everyone together. I feel like I’ve gotten to spend so much time with friends this month, and I am so grateful for each moment!
And I just wanted to extend a huge thank you to the firefighters who have been tirelessly working to keep us all safe here amidst the multiple wildfires the state of California has been experiencing. Everyday these men and women put their lives on the line to save families and homes and animals. I think, especially this time of year, it’s important to remember the families who have lost their homes and all of the memories that they hold. When things start to get hectic for you this year, when you get a little stressed out about finding the right gifts for people, remember that in the grand scheme of things, those little things don’t matter so much after all. We should all be thankful to have our loved ones near and to have a roof over our heads. And if you so feel inclined, make a donation to one of the many great organizations who have stepped up to help the families who have lost everything. I think, when the season is all said and done, that will be the gift you feel greatest about giving.
And that wraps up the month of November! Parents Week Post coming up next so stay tuned!