Super late…but not forgotten! Here is September’s Lookback List, comin’ in hot!
SEPTEMBER, IN REVIEW:
This month I actually finished two very different, but equally fantastic novels. The first, which has jumped pretty high on my ‘favorites’ list is called Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. It is a work of fiction that takes place in Ethiopia and chronicles the lives of twin boys — born conjoined — as they’re brought up by their adoptive parents, both of which are doctors. The beginning took me a little bit to get into, I think just because the writing style was vastly different from the book I was reading prior, but I was quickly drawn in to the point of staying up late and setting my alarm early just to get some reading in before the work day started. Not to mention, I was reading the final chapters through tears…I was that invested. This would be a great book club book! The second fiction piece I read this month is called Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in love with a more unassuming protagonist more. This is such an easygoing read … I finished it in four days, but I was just rooting for Eleanor the entire time. If you want a feel-good story, or something light to read while on vacation, this one’s for you.
This month I actually took a break from making in the “creative” sense. Instead, I wanted to focus more of my time on a documentary that I’m working on with some girlfriends. So I guess that’s ‘making’ in a sort of different, more technical way. I also knew that this month involved a lot of weekend travel plans and visitors, so I didn’t want to stress myself out with deadlines or projects that I couldn’t give my full focus towards. Plus, it was a really great reset for me! I always find that my creative outlet kind of dwindles more in the final months of the year, as the holidays sort of mess up our normal routines and there’s lots of other fun things going on! Which is completely fine and normal, I think. Life happens, enjoy it!
Lots of good recipes happened in the Lewis household this month! This Baked Gnocchi from TheModernProper is one of our faaaaavorites now, and I’ll admit it’s partly due to the fact that there is only one dish to wash at the end of it. And it’s fast. And there’s not many ingredients. And it’s freaking delicious. Just trust me and add this to your dinner list this week!
This Massaman Curry is on regular repeat in our household, as are most curries.
We made our go-to Bubble Pizza one night for the guys…I simply doubled the recipe to feed us all and to save a little bit of dough (pun definitely intended) on ordering delivery!
I wow’d everyone while camping with this Easy Ramen Hack! The secret is just to add whatever the heck you feel like! In this case: chopped carrots, scallions, mushrooms, siracha, and eggs !!!
And finally, I couldn’t exactly wait until October to break out the pumpkin…although I was close! This Pumpkin Chicken Crockpot Curry is dynamite and we’re actually making it again this week because we have to take advantage of all the pie pumpkins in stock at the grocery stores!!
We checked out Fiesta Hermosa again this year on Labor Day. Al and I took the dogs and ended up just doing a mini food truck tour instead 😉 And then we hung out at some breweries because that’s what you do in the Southbay when it’s hot out and you don’t have air conditioning!
We try to hit the dog beach at least once a month! We like to say it’s for Marty…but I’m starting to think it’s becoming more about grabbing a sub at our new favorite sub place, Sub Culture. We’re kind of obsessed…but it’s a win for all of us! A morning spent running on the beach and tiring out Marty, and then grabbing gigantic subs and not even feeling bad about the carbo-loaded goodness 😉
This month I’ve felt so lucky to have had three amazing trips planned and to have spent so much time outside! Being outside, whether it’s hiking or camping, is my very favorite way to spend our weekends. Al and I have dreams of one day (hopefully soon!?) purchasing a Teardrop Trailer so that we can up and go every free weekend we’ve got without a thought, to BLM land and live under the stars for two nights as a little family. The dream!!
Our first weekend trip was actually over my birthday — we went with another couple, some of our very best friends, Julie and Jimmy, to Sequoia National Park and camped in the Potwisha Campground. We each brought our dogs, and spent most of the weekend hanging out in ice cold rivers, drinking beers around a warm campfire, and cooking meals over a camping stove. It honestly could not have been anymore magical of a weekend. Spending time in our state’s National Parks always feels like such a treat, but when you get to camp inside them too, it’s even better. We all agreed that we need to make these small group camping trips a more regular thing.
Our second weekend trip actually occurred during my brother, Jim, and his boyfriend, RJ’s visit out to see us! RJ had never been to Joshua Tree National Park before, and so Jim and I thought it would be fun to spend a weekend there taking him through the park on different hikes (another post to come!). We gathered up the troops to meet us out there on BLM (public lands) land for a night of camping under the most beautiful sky of stars. This is my favorite kind of camping, as there aren’t really any other people around and you’re more or less free to do whatever you want (without harming our planet, of course). We saw a pretty epic sunset and spent the night around the fire, but maybe my favorite part was waking up to the incredible blue sky in the morning, as we left the rain cover off of our tent for the night to keep cool! We got to spend both Saturday and Sunday exploring the park, and Jim and I kept our National Park tradition alive, of saving the best hike for last!
And our last weekend trip of the month was up to Big Bear Mountain/Lake, where we rented a cabin with some friends to go to the “Hotdogs & Handrails” concert event that they hold every year. It’s a big event to sort of kick off the skiing/snowboarding season up there, but a band was playing that the guys really wanted to see. Even though I got insanely sick days before this trip and spent most of the weekend just recovering, I think the mountain air was just what I needed! I ended up doing a lot of reading and taking some short walks through the surrounding forest with Marty…and spending a lot of time outside on the gigantic deck. The Air BnB we stayed in was fantastic … these people had thought of everything from corn hole and horseshoes, to a giant hot tub. They had a huge fenced in yard for the dogs, and tons of extra birdfeed for the feeders out back. They had a pool table and a washer & dryer (praise!) and a kitchen stocked with everything we could possibly need. I know that we will be staying here again in the future!
CELEBRATING / LOVING / FEELING:
This month we celebrated our little bully’s third birthday! I can’t even believe that he is three whole years old already … he sure doesn’t act like it! 😉 Marty got to spend his birthday camping and swimming in the National Forest, and I think he was pretty happy about it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to accurately express how much this dog means to me, but it’s pretty safe to say that Alex and I are completely smitten with him. He truly completes our little family, and for all the hell he put us through in the beginning, he was more than worth it. Getting to see life through his happy little eyes is something I’ll never ever take for granted. Happy Birthday, Martin!
And as I mentioned before, we also celebrated my 28th birthday this month! This is two years in a row now that I’ve gotten to spend my birthday camping in a National Park … so I think it’s pretty much tradition now! Not only did I spend it camping in Sequoia with some of my favorite people on the planet, but there were also bundt cakes there! I meannnn…it doesn’t get much better than that! I’ve spent some time reflecting back on this last year of my life and the word I keep coming back to is: growth. I feel like I am growing in so many aspects of my life; in my career especially. And it’s just such an exciting time. It’s like year 28 has set me up for so many incredible opportunities, and then this next year will be those opportunities finally taking shape. I am so thankful for the job I get to go to every day, for the people I get to interact with and know, for the hobbies and side hustles I get to pursue. I’m thankful for the mountains every weekend and for the beach every weekday. I’m thankful for a husband to cook in the kitchen with and a dog to drag me out of bed every morning. I’m just thankful to be here. Every day is a freaking gift, and I’m just doing my best to remember that very simple, but powerful phrase.
thank you, always, for stopping by!