What’s Good LA?

Hello, it’s me.  A girl trying to call herself a blogger who is also now back to her base in California and not sure what to do about a weekly post.  That’s not entirely true as I always seem to have ideas bouncing around – I even have oodles of ideas for throwback NYC posts.  I simply just don’t know when to dedicate the time to write.  It might help if I didn’t scroll on my phone at night and instead drafted up a post or two but alas, I’m only human and still breaking into a routine.

It’s only been two weeks but I’m still smiling from the love that I received my last couple of weeks in NYC.  I saw my favorite people, ran my favorite routes, ate some fun foods, and just left on good terms, which is important to me.  A lot of people asked whether I would miss New York and if I was sad to be leaving.  Well, yes I was sad to leave but I was excited to create a new life, find myself in a new role and new job, and explore the west coast.  We cross paths with people and live in places that have a profound impact on our lives but nothing lasts forever.

^^ Going to miss all of these gals + more people unpictured.  Beyond grateful for the surprise picnic or surprise guests because let’s be honest, I’m very difficult to surprise.  Somehow I’m just naturally curious and figure things out.  But I did not know that friends like Ali would show up and it meant the world to me, especially since she hasn’t been feeling super hot 😦 . Also make note of her parting gift – a stuffed animal llama who together we named Ellie Fwelling.

So what’s been going on over the last couple of weeks? Driving, driving, running, and driving 😉 I really have no room to complain because that’s LA and I agreed to this situation. Plus, it’s sort of fun to create new routines and I’ve seen so much more of the landscape by taking side roads to and from the office.


People love to talk about their commute.  I’ve just gravitated from the subway lingo to the freeways.  For example I used to take the L to the Q to NP and then A to the L home from work. Now I just use freeways and because I’m a Southern California gal, I put THE in front of every freeway name.  My commutes have varied every single day, twice a day but so far I’ve taken the 2 to the 110 to the 5 to the 10 and I’ve taken the side streets to the 110 to the 2.  Most mornings range around 70-90 minutes (sweet spot on 80-85) and unless I’m staying late (which may be the case), evening commutes are about the same.  Wednesday was skewed since I drove 20-30 minutes to November Project and then 15 to the gym and 45 to work.  The worst part of that one was that I couldn’t find an accessible coffee shop on my side of the street.  Every time I passed a Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, there was either no parking space or it was on the other side of the street.


^^ Long run views along the coast in Santa Barbara.  I’m blessed to have family that live in such beautiful places and now that I’m back with access to a car, you’ll find me living it up by the water or the mountains.

Podcasts – Do you ever find yourself annoyed by some voices early in the morning?  See, I have a not so “sunshine and butterflies” attitude at times 😉 Anyways, I finally discovered Mike&Mike while living in NYC.  They host from 6a-9a EST and it was perfect for walking to the gym or even the occasional solo morning run.  Well, now I discovered that their podcast is available that same day and because it’s in podcast form, it has WAY fewer ads (condensing an hour show into 36 minutes).  Winning.

I’m going to be so sad when it ends in a couple of months 😦 . It seriously makes my morning commute enjoyable and I like to think I’m gaining retaining sports knowledge.

I did test out the TODAY SHOW on SiriusXM but unfortunately for them, they will not gain a loyal member since I cannot stand the reception cutting in and out every other sentence.   So, any suggested podcasts?  I’ve gotten “The Daily” and been recommended Headspace.  I have yet to actually download/purchase those but any tips would be greatly appreciated.  Something interesting and potentially educational?  Or just entertaining.

Social Media – I used to be WAY better about responding to people via text message.  It really only has been a week or so but I’m finding that it’s a work in progress.  Anyone who has messaged me and I haven’t responded in my timely fashion, my apologies.  I’m doing my best to commute close to 2-3 hours and that means no texting.

^^ Labor Day Weekend adventures on Mount Baldy.  I’m debating a full post (<< something I say a lot) but if you want the short and sweet version, it was a great hike but actually taking the right path would have been helpful.  It took us 5 moving hours to cover 9ish miles and we definitely got lost.  The picture on the right?  We were totally not supposed to be scaling down that but had already committed.  Yolo?

Blogging – I’ve gotten a few questions about blogging in the last week or so.  I’m not sure where I stand.  I love Instagram and I really don’t want to be on my computer outside of work hours.  It’s bad enough I still sit in front of a screen for 8 or so hours and then sit in the car for upwards of 3 hours a day.  But, I do have some fun thoughts for posts and maybe when I get my personal computer back on wifi (<< another problem) I’ll throw some up there.

This weekend I signed up for a 24 hour adventure race called Questival, brought to you by Cotopaxi, an adventure gear brand with the appropriate moto “Gear For Good”.  Even better and quite possibly how I became attracted to the brand in the first place is that their logo is a LLAMA!!!  Now don’t ask me why I’m obsessed with llamas because I have no clue.  They are just so darn funny and I’m sorry if we as a society mix up alpacas with llamas.  The entire animal group is a hoot.  (Shout out to everyone who has sent me funny llama pictures and clothing ideas with the llama logo. Special shoutout to Ali who gifted me Ellie Fwuelling).

But back to this festival thing.  It looks extremely cool – you and up to 5 other teammates adventure around your city completing challenges that could include anything adventurous to philanthropic.  My only hesitation is the sleep aspect since I 1) don’t function well on little sleep and 2) know little sleep will affect me beyond Saturday and instead into the next week.  Time to live a little and suck it up and have some fun (but of course be safe!  Cotopaxi will not send out any notifications between 1a-5a but I think my sister and I will be a little generous with those hours…say 11:30p-6a?)

Other than that, I’m getting into the swing of running, making my way at the November Project LAX Tribe, and hanging onto my sister’s running club.  I’m serious when I say hanging on because a large majority of those folks are speeeedy.  Maybe if I hang on long enough, I can PR 😉

Alright, that’s all for now but I hope to put together some posts about NYC, some of my favorite food spots as well as odds and ends from California.

“Do what you love and love what you do”

Santa Barbara, CA Eats ~ Barbareño

IMG_7549Step right in to a little piece of Californian cuisine.

This neat little place, located off of State Street happened to have been created by a couple of Claremont students and is certainly one of my new favorites.  My sister actually was on the cross country team with Julian (head chef) and Kris (sous chef), which is how we stumbled across this gastronomical treat.


In the words of the restaurant itself:


a. Language – One of the extinct Chumashan languages, a group of Native American languages, which was spoken in the area of Santa Barbara.
b. Restaurant – A restaurant based in Santa Barbara, inspired by the terroir of the region.

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^^ outside dining if you so desire (a bit chillier on these Santa Barbara nights, but just as delightful)


^^ seasonal menus created with plenty of time, love, and care

As a matter of fact, the menu is packed full of native ingredients – from avocados to Santa Maria barbecue, from oak to piquito beans.


^^ We started off with a garden salad ~ stone fruit (nectarines), umeboshi, mahlab croquette (goat cheese)


^^ Nancy’s Quail


^^ Hidden Valley Raviolo ~ ranch ricotta, peas, carrots, duck egg


^^ Bob’s classic burger

What’s neat is that they keep the grill right outside and with each order, a sous chef will take the selected meat out to roast or grill, right in front of your own eyes. (or anyone really who had a view outside of the main dining hall)

Though we all had eaten quite well, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity on such a unique selection of sweets.  By now you know that I am such a sucker for dessert, possibly my “Achilles heel” but such is life.


^^ Nance’s basil infused ice cream atop lemon curd and paired with a parmesan crisp


^^ My “Muffet’s Tuffets” ~ chocolate ganache, milk jam, seasonal fruit

The real winner and crowd pleaser is with “Movie Snacks” (crème brûlée with popcorn and homemade milk duds) so make sure to keep some room for that!

If brunch is more of your thing, it’s served on the weekends from 9:30am – 1:30p.  Either call for a reservation, submit a request online, or place your name in and take a walk around the town.

205 W Canon Perdido St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 963-9591
~ About ~ Menu ~ Reservations ~


Summer in Santa Barabara

Ok, I admit I am just a tad bit spoiled with family living in both Laguna Beach and Santa Barbara.  I mean, those are two of the most beautiful beach locations in California (obviously biased).  For the week or so I spent at home in California, I knew I wanted to hit up at least one and so off to Santa Barbara it was.


^^ off in the distance you can see IV (Isla Vista) where UCSB is located. I don’t know how anyone would get studying done with that view 😉

My grandparents have lived in this area for the last 15 or so years and we have visited everything from State Street to the mission, from to La Super Rica to Paradise Cafe, from the zoo to pretty much everything in between.  My sister and I used to go to some of the local kids camps, some at the zoo and others at a local elementary school, but the best memories are from crafting and cooking and wandering the local streets.  We didn’t have any craft projects or recipes on tap for this trip, but we dominated the shopping and exploring bit.

IMG_1078I made her take this picture prior to our shopping escapades (she may have been slightly embarrassed by the people staring – #noregrets).  It is quite possible she 1) is the most fashionable TOMS wearer and 2) has 2x the amount of TOMS my sister and I do combined.  Like I said, refer back to #1 and you will understand.  She is my shoe role model.

She also let me in on a secret that Nordstroms is starting to have their yearly sales prior to the season, so in this case, early access to the fall line!  We saw oodles of people leaving with their hands full of Nordstrom bags and knew we were in for some shopping luck.

IMG_1087Sure enough, we waltzed into the shoe section and each came out smiling ear to ear.  I think Nance (grandma) wins the prize for the best looking dog-walking clothes.  She picked up some wild looking Nikes and a fabulous purple vest for the occasion.  I came out with some TOMS wedges, gold Tory Burch flats, and Ecco boots for fall (all with Nance’s generous and fashion seal of approval).  The best feeling has to be when you have been looking for a certain pair of shoes for AGES and then you just happen to find them on sale.  Yes, that would be winning at its finest.

IMG_7538 ^^ didn’t stop in here for lunch but loved the orange crate label advertisement


IMG_1079 Instead, we made our way to the Public Market, which is very similar to Copenhagen’s Glass Market or a cleaner and earthier version of Philly’s Reading Terminal.  We took our time touring the options and ultimately settled on splitting a grilled panini with brie, fig jam, and salami.

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^^ Real food first.  Then we must progress to the better part of the meal – dessert.



^^ Grandma Nancy went for her favorite – lemon curd – while I selected the “John Martin” with coconut and chocolate chips. No clue why it was called that but I’m sure some dude named John had excellent taste.

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^^ One can never get enough of the mission style design and endless pattern of tile work


Because one dessert is never enough.  Sugar detox starts this week 😉

IMG_1097If you haven’t discovered the Santa Barbara based ice cream company McConnell’s, then you are surely missing out on something.  I actually picked up a pint prior to arriving at the grandparent’s house and they already had one in the freezer.  Great minds think alike 🙂


^^ Miss Lily who is our family dog’s sister and happens to be blind.  She is in the most caring hands ever and it’s so cute to see her because she always recognizes who I am (since I was the one to pick her out of the litter) and even speaks her own little language.

IMG_1095On my second and (sadly) last day, I took a walk down to the beach to clear my mind.  There are lots of things floating around – or rather bouncing like a pinball machine – in my head regarding the past, present, and future.  From family to friends, work to social life, most importantly, what or where do I consider home.  For now, just trust the process because somehow, everything will fall into place.

WIAW #51 – My Love for Santa Barbara

Where can I even begin on this Wednesday?  Well, it’s coming down to the last couple weeks of my summer – the first summer where I’ve had the opportunity to take time and do pretty much what I want, when I want.  I’ve been able to see family, spend time catching up with my high school friends, exploring new areas and eateries, exercising, and of course blogging.  Last week I traveled up to Santa Barbara and had a wonderful time shopping, running, and soaking in the sunshine.  Not to mention the eats from Paradise Cafe and La Super Rica, both favorites of Julia Child.  Today I’ll share some of my other favorites from the trip and hopefully inspire you to take a trip up or down the 101 to taste it out. 🙂 Mahalo as always to Jenn at Peas & Crayons. Continue reading

Trending Tuesday – SB & Julia Child Edition

Who doesn’t love Julia Child?  I’m sure at one time or another we’ve been enamored by her creativity, her dedication to cooking, and maybe even her outspokenness.  I’ve watched the movie Julie & Julia a few times and browsed her cookbooks, savoring the recipes and wondering how she created such extravagant affairs.  In time I’d like to test out a few, but don’t really have any occasions to do so just yet.  Maybe once I’m settled in New York and stumble across some foodies.  Maybe when I’m back at home during the holidays.  Who knows? Continue reading

Anacapa Recapped

Yesterday’s trip to one of the Channel Islands was absolutely delightful! It’s one of those things where California has so many wonderful trips, state parks, and hole in the wall joints, yet I never seem to make time for them.  My grandma is completely into planning trips and adventuring out into the unknown.  God love her.  She signed up through the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens, but it would be just as easy to go through Island Packers.  The boat departed from Oxnard around 9:15 and arrived back at shore around 4:30ish.  In between included whale sightings, sea gull encounters (not kidding, there must have been hundreds on that tiny island), a shipwreck site, and a few miles of trails. Continue reading