California Mountain Summer Bliss Part 2

Time to share some more pictures from my summer trip to the California mountains.  We spent about three days in Mammoth itself – hiking, biking, running, and reading.  There was an afternoon of bowling and a trip to Roberto’s for dinner.

IMG_5612Kodiak Cakes Waffle Mix thanks to my 2014 BlendSwag.  We put it to the test and while it’s packed with protein, it didn’t taste like any of that gritty protein powder!  I tested my luck with the Kodiak Cakes Waffle Mix.  This stuff is protein packed and yet still tastes delicious!

IMG_5613 Look at that delicious California fruit!

IMG_5614Someone looks ready for an afternoon of biking.  This nutty girl ran 11 miles earlier in the day!  Ok, dedicated rather than nutty as she is mid-training for cross country.

We spent a few hours along the Uptown-Downtown trail, which passes both Twin Lakes & Lake Mary

IMG_5616Arriving at the midway point of our ride – Horseshoe Lake – Sadly it’s at its lowest point yet!  Notice all the remaining water rings?

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TFred is dressed for the part – biking shirt, gloves, clip shoes.  About ready to crush the rest of the ride.

IMG_5618Driving from Mammoth to Yosemite’s White Wolf with a stop at the Whoa Neli Deli in Lee Vining.

IMG_5620 IMG_5624 Packed inside the Tioga Pass Gas Mart, there is a little gourmet food spot to satisfy one’s hunger.  Sure you can pick and choose a few candy bars or pack up some camping necessities, but how about some home cooked grub?

IMG_5626It’s pretty much your typical diner fare with some hefty omlettes and pancakes the size of your face.  Just the right amount of fuel before hiking the afternoon away.

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Into the park we go!  A short trip to White Wolf campground before driving onto Groveland for our rafting trip.

IMG_5632“Oh it’s just an easy 8 mile hike” … suuuure.  Nothing is ever that flat 😉

IMG_5635 Despite the fire, those are some pretty gorgeous views.

IMG_5636There’s nothing like finishing a hike with an ice cream sandwich.  This San Francisco classic was just what we needed for the 6-easy turned 8-moderate/strenuous hike in Yosemite.  Oatmeal cookie with vanilla ice cream and covered in chocolate.  We totally could handle the distance, just were a bit taken aback when the route changed halfway through the hike.

One day I hope to hike Half Dome, but it requires a few more logistics and planning ahead.

Have you been to Yosemite or Mammoth?  What’s your favorite part of hiking?

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California Mountain Summer Bliss Part 1

Back in the day we used to make scrapbooks so we could look at pictures and remember the good times we had.  Since I don’t have all my crafting supplies back east with me, posting here is the next best thing.  Well, it might be better because I get to share all the California love with you 🙂  Here’s a little look at some of our Mammoth Mountain favorites from last month.

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Schat’s is a MUST and if you can’t make it to Mammoth, there’s also one in Bishop.  I remember the days that my grandparents would always bring back a medley of donuts for us kids.  Their bread is above par and I highly recommend the sourdough, wheat, and oh the cheesy loaf.  If you happen to be there in the winter, pair the cheesy loaf with some spaghetti and it makes for a divine post-ski dinner.

There’s even a cafe in the back if you are up for a sit-down kind of deal.

IMG_5580 Checking out the samples and surveying our options

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Meghan the head chef for the night grilling up some personalized pizzas.  This was a first for me and if I had a grill in NYC, it would happen weekly!

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Simply pick up some dough from Trader Joe’s, brush with olive oil and pop on the grill for a hot second (seriously).  Flip, allow the dough to bubble, add some sauce and toppings, close the lid, and viola, dinner is served!

IMG_5585Kaitlin’s meals are never complete without a scoop of ice cream.  And this is why you will not see me on the cover of Fitness magazine.  No matter how much I exercise, I can’t seem to cut out my sweet tooth habit.

But anyways, Jeni’s is definitely the way to go if you are willing to make the splurge.  Even better if you can find a 50% discount like we did!

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OH MY DEER! Wildlife alongside our trail!  She was interested in what we had brought for lunch.  I don’t think she would have liked the peanut butter rolls I had packed, but one never knows.

IMG_5599 Oh John Muir, what a guy.  I really would have loved to see the land from his perspective and then compare it to how drastically it has changed.

IMG_5603Our epic hike to a hidden lake past Convict lake was interrupted by a freak rainstorm.  Of all the time I have spent in Mammoth, I’ve never encountered such weather.  Luckily we were only 3-4 miles away (yeah really “only”) and it was a short trip down the mountain.

IMG_5611 From hiking in the clouds to running in the clear air.  I can never get enough Mammoth in the summertime.  It’s actually one of my favorite places to be and while I do love it in the winter, nothing beats moving around in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt in the great outdoors.

IMG_5527More marvelous Mammoth memories to come…

California Vacation Eats

Home sweet home.  Sure NYC has some of the best restaurants around but home is where the endless supplies of groceries and snacks are at.  I tend to skimp on my groceries here in the city, so arriving home to all my favorites (skim milk, celery, granola) was simply a treat.

My vacation last week consisted of a short time at home, a trip to the mountains and the Tuolumne River, and finished with a quick visit at the beach.  I didn’t manage to snag all my delectable eats and treats – mostly because I was trying to stay off my phone (harder than I thought!) and also because my family liked to tease me every time I whipped out the camera or my handy-dandy iphone.  Yeah, they are cool like that. 😉

So here’s a look at some of what we indulged in while soaking up the California sun.

IMG_5483 Lemonade lunch out with grandma, mom, and Megnan.  Lemonade is one of my favorite spots in Pasadena and I’ll make any excuse to take a trip there.    The selection my mom and I picked out was not at all photogenic.  So we shall settle on my grandma’s delicious monthly special – a mix of romaine, chicken, onions, pecans,a nd cheese. Mmmmmmm

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I selected a guava-Arnold Palmer out of their 8 or so choices and we all split a mega lemon macaroon and black-bottom brownie.

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Meghan and I took a picnic dinner to our Friday night Dierks Bentley concert.  While the Greek Theatre has some food booths, we felt a little more comfortable with our Trader Joe’s selection.  Our wallets didn’t mind saving either. 🙂 As you can see, there is a NYC black & white cookie in the shot, which was in fact transported from the famous Ess-A Bagel.

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Saturday’s hike was followed with a Juice-It-Up acai bowl with the girls.  Smoothie perfection on a warm day.

IMG_5500 Iced coffee on the road to Mammoth Mountain.  I have no clue if McDonald’s knows what a iced coffee is because this was definitely sugar milk but it was pretty tasty.

IMG_5588Breakfast on the deck with Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and Meghan’s zucchini bread.  I keep forgetting how delicious and naturally sweet all of California’s produce is!  That and the fact that “seasonal” is not an issue in California. Oh the lessons I learn from living back east.

IMG_5587 Whenever I say that I’m going to “quit sugar”, don’t believe me.  I couldn’t help but throw this in the cart when my mom was checking out of VONS.  Luckily it had a 50% off tag because the original price was around $10 and I don’t think she would have let that fly.

IMG_5609Just a typical family hike – up a trail that seems to have disappeared in a flood and then getting caught in a freak rainstorm on the way down.  If I didn’t know better I would have thought that we were in New York with all the humidity and rain.

Packed in my clutch Organic Valley pack was a PB sandwich and carrot/celery medley. I also couldn’t resist the Cliff ZBar that had been packed for “emergency”.  Usually I end up eating whatever I packed, hungry or not but thankfully the 8 mile hike had left me hungry.

IMG_5610Looney Bean is one of our favorite coffee stops in town and if you have a real hankering for something sweet, I recommend the Looney Latte (iced or hot!) – latte with whipped cream and chocolate covered espresso beans.  It’s practically a milkshake but let’s just say “morning coffee”

IMG_5532There are some rafting eats missing here but that’s not because they weren’t delicious.  We were just so ravenous that I forgot to take a picture.  Also combined with the fact that we were with 20 or so other people, most of whom were high school boy scouts and probably wouldn’t understand the necessity desire to photograph every morsel of food. Goodness, we food enthusiasts can get such a bad rep.

Breakfasts: (1 – purchased pre-launch –> ; 2 – at camp site –> vegetable egg scramble, cheese-infused potatoes, fruit salad, bacon, and sausage)

Lunches: solid spread for sandwiches –> pastrami, turkey, egg salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, peanut butter, hummus, sundried tomatoes, artichokes, four different breads, tortilla chips with salsa/cream cheese dip

Dinner: Steak/chicken, fajita vegetables, Mexican rice, black beans, grilled tortillas, w/ additional fixin’s

But anyways, the guides made sure we weren’t starving and in fact, we probably all gained a few pounds from the spread.  The entire group was able to polish most of the food off and I’m not sure if that was because we were hungry or we felt bad that whatever didn’t get eaten was thrown away.

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Finished the trip off with coffee and scones with my grandpa and then a beach “burger bash” with my dad’s side of the family.  I swear there is a burger underneath all that fresh California fruit. 🙂 Just alongside a tasty vegetable orzo salad.  I’ll have to test out the recipe, an Ina Garten classic I believe, and share it before the end of summer.

With that my friends, wraps up my California summer eats.  I’ll be sharing a few more west coast adventures in the days (and maybe weeks) to come.  Until then, it’s back to the big city!  For more WIAW fun, hop over to Peas and Crayons. Aloha!

Summer Vacation Love

My oh my oh my. After a complete week off of work, blogging, and most organized exercise, I’m not sure where to begin. Honestly I’m torn between having so much to say and not having anything at all.  There sure are a ton of jokes and stories encountered over the last few days but without sufficient processing, it’ll probably just come out as jibberish so until I find the right moment to share, we’ll leave it at that.

Over the past 10 or so days, I tried to cut myself off from technology and work, which is something I’ve never been able to do before.  It was my own mini-digital-detox and it enabled me to stay focused and fully enjoy vacation.  By any means, it was just the right amount of time with friends and family to keep me sane and also ready to get back to NYC city life.

IMG_5454_Fotor_CollageFriday was spent between appointments, lunch with the family at Lemonade (1 – they do support my blogging but love to make fun of my pictures 😉 and 2 – see my thoughts on the delicious eatery here), and an outdoor country concert! I swear, outdoor concerts are oodles better than indoor concerts.  There really is no comparison, especially when it’s as beautiful as Griffith Park.

Dierks Bently Concert

This time at home also helped me realize a few things about myself.  Like everyone, I’m a work in progress and as countless articles and bloggers and writers have pointed out – growing up is tough.  It’s been over a year since I graduated college and yet I’m still trapped in this confusing world of living on my own, creating my own rules and schedule and then looking back on my hometown, my family, and the life I used to lead.  It’s time to figure out how much I can allow myself to rely on my parents, the familiarity of home, and how much I can accomplish on my own as an adult.

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Sometimes I wish I were closer so that I could play golf, watch a sports game, take Bodie for a walk after work, or make dinner with them.  I worry that I’m not making the most of the time in New York or even if what I’m doing makes a difference in the world.  Whatever it may be, I know that my childhood was an influential part of my life but that life is in the past.  I know that if I were at home, I’d probably be isolated (there aren’t many young people in our town) and I definitely wouldn’t have the opportunities as I do in New York. Yet at the same time, it’s human nature to reminisce and consider how the grass might be greener.

Got to love the mixed-up 20’s

101 Things 20 Somethings Realizes in Their 20’s

Things We Obsess Over in Our 20’s

20 Things to Let Go of In Your 20’s

Guide To Saying Awesome in Your 20’s

I really only was at home for a hot second but it truly was a marvelous California trip. From morning runs and hikes with friends to a trip the Getty Villa, catching up with grandparents and extended family and a jaunt up to Mammoth, we did it all.  We even embarked on a 2 day white-water rafting trip down the Tuolumne River, just outside of Yosemite!

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We finished off the trip with a visit to Laguna Beach and a full-on family reunion.  I had a blast in the ocean (Pacific > Atlantic for sure) and chatting and joking with my cousins, all of whom are in junior high, high school, or entering college.  Such a strange time to look back on!

Continue on here if you are In the mood for more marvelous in your Monday! 

“Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.”
– Jack Lemmon

Mammoth Mountain Musts

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Every good vacation, whether it’s short or long, deserves a good round of pictures, don’t you agree?  Well, the past couple of days provided a good amount of action shots in the mountains and I thought I’d prolong the relatively relaxing ambience.  We allowed ourselves to sleep in on Sunday, all the way until 8am.  My dad had been up for awhile watching golf and continued to do so as my mom, sister, dog, and I set off on a quick walk to the other side of town.  You might be able to guess our destination…Looney Bean.

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I’ve made it pretty clear that I’ve gotten hooked on coffee, but when in Mammoth, do as the locals do and that means a trip to Looney Bean Coffee, regardless of what you order.  Yesterday my mom and I ordered the frozen vanilla latte, which really turned out to be a milkshake in disguise.  No complaints here, but Sunday I was looking for a bit more of a caffeine punch to start my day.

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First let me say, these are NOT milkshakes.  I perused the menu and decided to go for an iced coffee.  I’m still trying to figure out my drink that I could order whenever and wherever I go.  It’s a pretty good order given the fact that I can customize it with all sorts of flavors and creams on the side.  Well, my mom decided she would do the same, but was a little taken aback when it came out just.black.coffee.  I told her I wasn’t finished and to hold her horses.  With a little bit of cream, cinnamon and whipped cream (I think that’s what my mom really was hinting at…it was our vacation after all), we were ready to go.  I’ve never tried putting cinnamon in my coffee but really liked the creation.  I picked up the trick from my friend Laura when we went to Urth Cafe the other day.

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After breakfast, which consisted of another delicious berry + yogurt parfait, we selected a moderate hike to one of the local lakes and were soon on our way.  It’s a running joke in our family that my dad likes to select the death march hikes, the ones that are rated “more than strenuous,” climb vertically up the mountain, and go on for miles.  We actually haven’t completed one of these hikes in a few years, probably due to the vigorous training schedule my sister is on and the insistance we not do anything out of the ordinary.  So, a hike to Crystal Lake (off the Mammoth Crest trail by Lake George) it was.  According to Meghan, we were hiking for about 1 hr 45 min, and this was not counting the time stopped to gaze longingly at the cool, crisp water, wishing we had packed swimsuits.

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Back down, around around Lake George, and home for lunch.  I mentioned earlier, our “relatively” relaxing ambience.  Among some other issues we ran into, we happened to be surprised by an impromptu rain storm on Sunday afternoon.

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Just as we made it up our first hill to Twin Lakes, we could hear the clouds rumble.  I had thought they might subside as they had yesterday, but alas, as we rounded the corner of our second hill, the drops started to fall pelt us from above.  I knew my dad would say at the end, “well that was fun, wasn’t it?”  Let’s just say it was quite the adventure and never a dull moment in our household.

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As I had mentioned previously, a trip to Mammoth is not complete without a stop by Schat’s bakery.  They are known for their shepherder’s bread but I HIGHLY recommend the cheesy bread.  Paired with some spaghetti and meat sauce in the winter and it’s quite delightful.  Maybe it’s just my obsession with cheese or maybe it truly is the magic of the mountains.  You’ll have to decide for yourself.

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Ah and one thing we could NOT have left without doing…celebrating National Ice Cream day and indulging in an ice cream cone.  When we were in the United Kingdom, our tour guide told us that a vacation is not complete without an ice cream cone.  Well, I guess I’m on vacation every day then. 😉 But really, after battling the wet pavement and hills of the sierras in the rain, Meghan and I were more than happy to stop by the Village on our way home.

IMG_3277My mom had spotted this beauty (Liz Lemon – lemon frozen yogurt with blueberry swirl) the other day and it had to be sampled.  Yes, a perfect blend of summer flavors – tart lemon with just the perfect amount of berry sweetness.  Frozen yogurt also provides the perfect amount of creaminess without being too heavy like some ice creams (though I don’t discriminate) and without being too tart like some sorbets.
IMG_3279Dinner on Sunday was not nearly as gourmet as our feast on Saturday.  My mom had made taco carne asada in the crock pot, which gave way to unbelievably tender meat, perfect for tacos, tostadas, or a quesadilla.  Instead, I settled for a KIND bar, apple, cherries, and carrots.  Followed up by some milk and coconut-chia pudding once we arrived home.  But because the later really doesn’t sound too picture perfect (and it wasn’t) I’ll leave you with this. 
IMG_3259I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and are avoiding the heat wave.  It was certainly warmer than expected and normal in Mammoth.  A trip to the mountains is always a classic in our family, but I’ve found a list of the top 10 trips you must do in your 20’s.  It’s prepared by Buzzfeed and it’s pretty neat.  Take a look 🙂 

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“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Whirlwind Holiday Adventures

Well it certainly has been awhile since I last posted.  Usually I try to write “after-the-fact” posts where I make it seem like I actually wrote something each day and change the date published to a few days previously or even stack up posts in advanced.  Yeah, that’s not happening.

IMG_5646 Continue reading