For the love of fashion

When God gives you a pair of hot pink Tory Burch shorts for only $30 you have to buy them for the love of fashion.

My birthday is August 15th and when my Mom was visiting recently she gave me several birthday gifts including a commercial quality baking sheet which I am in LOVE with. She also gave me permission to spend a set amount of money at one of my favorite Santa Monica consignment stores if I got rid of some clothing. Goodbye old tank tops hello new hot pink shorts.

I headed over to Address in Santa Monica on Wilshire. They have many beautiful designer items. The clothing isn’t cheap. This is not the place to come for $5 jeans but they are beautiful. Frequently you will walk by Chanel, Valentino, Michael Kors, Dolce and Gabanna, Diane von Furstenberg, and Manolo Blahnik. But sometimes, like today, you get lucky.

These shorts jumped out at me from across the store. I love the style of Tory Burch and I love the bright color of these shorts. Life is too short to wear drab colors. I imagine pairing them with wedges, flowy blouses or flats and fitted tops.

Today I wore them with my white flowy top. Check out my princess bathroom in the background!

I also snapped up this adorable dress. Again, I love the color. The dress fits nicely on my shoulders and is very light. I imagine I will wear this at some point in the next week with a cardi or possibly a denim jacket.

Despite the appearance in the photo it is not a maxi dress. I don’t do that.

Any other ideas for my hot pink shorts?

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Apartment Spotlight: My Cocktail Tray

If you’ve ever met me or read my blog you know that I love cocktails.

I swear, I’m a classy person and in no way a lush.

I have wanted a cocktail cart for a while. I have many, many cocktail supplies that have never had a special home. Well never fear because the cocktails have a new forever home!

This is by no means anything. I like to keep most of my alcohol in the freezer (it’s where my gin, vodka, and limonchello reside) and I have martini glasses and wine glasses that are not out on display. Plus my lime was cut so it was living in the fridge.

I picked up the tray at a thrift store. LCCMom spied it, shined it up and now it looks fantastic.

Bet you didn’t know that I won the California Horse Trials in 1980! Oh yes, I am a grand horse lady. Just kidding.

My cocktail shaker holds my cocktail supplies of which I have many.

Let’s break this thing down.

1. Rubber bottle stopper

2. Fancy bottle stopper

3. Jigger

4. Bottle opener

5. Mini whisk

6. Juicer, which has holes in the bottom which ensures that seeds don’t get in your drink

6 (number 2, whoops!). Wine bottle opener

7. Peeler/twist maker

It’s so nice to have everything in one place.

Friday was a fun but crazy day. I was in Children’s Court and had a long drive home on the 10 (it took over 1 hour). I went on a run and then I came home and prepared myself a drink. It was well past cocktail o’clock and I needed some GTL and by GTL I mean Gin, Tonic, and Lime.

I made my new favorite drink, which is a take on a Gin and Tonic.

This drink is 2 jiggers Gin, 1 jigger St. Germain, topped off with tonic water, and two wedges of lime, one squeezed in my seedless juicer and the other just thrown in for fun. It’s a different take on a gin and tonic and is delicious!

How do you celebrate your Fridays? Besides listening to “Friday” over and over ad nauseam? I’m looking at you Kaitlin and Amanda.

Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

Last Sunday I took over my new kitchen and declared total domination. I made Maple Oatmeal Scones, fish tacos and these delicious Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies. The summer is winding down for me. I only have one more week at my internship, then one week of vacation (my brother is visiting!) and then school starts. I wanted to spend last weekend using my new kitchen but I also wanted to make some delicious cookies that I could share with my coworkers. I don’t blog about my work life but I must say that I have really enjoyed this summer and I am going to miss my coworkers and my clients.

Did you know that this is my 6th internship?

Oh yes, it is.

In the past 5 years I have: done social psychology and race research (I actually analyzed body language for 2 summers!), education policy research, helped plan a conference on race, culture & education, was a legislative intern in the Massachusetts State House, worked on fair housing litigation (where I learned that I love working with clients) and helped youth emancipating from the foster care system with legal issues <- this summer. This is probably my last internship and it was a great way to end my career as an intern.

There really is no better way to share the love with your coworkers before the end of the summer than make cookies for them. Am I right?

These cookies are like little sugary, buttery bites of heaven with a jam center. Strawberry is the perfect center for the thumbprint and, let’s face it, strawberry jam makes these an appropriate breakfast treat. Obviously my coworkers snapped these up before 10 am. You can just call this “breakfast dessert”.

Oh, and it only has a few ingredients which is nice. Since this is a Paula Deen original, there is plenty of butter involved. I altered some of the instructions based on my personal baking preferences.

Ingredients

1 1/2 sticks of room temperature, unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

Just shy of 2 cups flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 jar strawberry preserves

Instructions

Cream butter and sugar together for 10 mins with a handheld mixer.

Add the egg yolk and mix.

Combine the salt and flour in a separate bowl.

Slowly combine the flour mixture with the butter mixture. Make sure the mixer is on a low speed until the flour is completely combined. Add the vanilla.

Take the dough, wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350.

Take the dough and roll it into little balls. Place on a baking sheet, covered in parchment. I got to use my new commercial quality baking sheet which I got as an early birthday present! Probably the best present ever!

Once the balls are rolled use your thumb to make a thumbprint in the middle of the ball, flattening it.

Then use a spoon to fill the hole with the strawberry jam.

It’s like a cookie army.

Bake for 15 mins or until lightly browned (mine too about 20 mins).

Then all you have to do it pack it up, bring it to work and become the office hero!

What is your favorite thing to find in the kitchen at work? I love cookies but in my opinion nothing is better than walking in on some bagels and cream cheese when you really need a second breakfast.

Final Boston Post: The Wedding

The entire purpose of my trip to Boston was to attend the wedding of one of my closest friends, Shahrin. I have known Shahrin since my sophomore year at Simmons. She’s been an amazing friend to me over the years and is an overall good person. I was so excited to not only have the opportunity to see her marry her partner of 9 years, Dan (who is equally awesome and smart) but to also be part of the wedding party. The wedding was beautiful, unique and reflected them as a couple.

The day before the wedding the girls all gathered at Shahrins family’s house for a henna party. All the girls in the wedding party had henna done and we got to eat delicious food that her Aunt prepared.

The bridal party girls had simple henna on our hands. My friend Sharmin did mine and it turned out beautifully!

Because she was the bride, Shahrin had full henna on both sides of both arms and all over her hands! She had her initials on one palm and Dan’s on the other palm. She started the henna around 3:30 pm and wasn’t done until 11 pm! THAT is dedication.

After the henna I headed to Dedham to have a ladies sleep over with Catie, Kat and Robyn so we could all get ready the next day bright and early. I’m low maintenance so I basically took a bath, hung my dress and made sure I had my accessories in order.

Simmons Women: We’re Prepared.

The next morning I woke up bright and early, got a huge latte in preparation for the excitement and got dressed. Even though we were in the bridal party we were allowed to wear whatever we wanted! I don’t know that I will ever have a more flattering bridal party dress ever again. Shahrin is a bright personality and I knew that others in the wedding would be wearing colorful saris (Shahrin was born in Bangladesh) so I chose to wear hot pink. I also picked a strapless short dress. It was a dress that I would typically never purchase for myself and I had such a fun time dressing for this wedding. My Mom helped with accessories. I had oversized pearls which were doubled up. For shoes I wore simple gold sandals. I knew I was going to be on my feet all day and I wanted to be able to dance freely! I wanted the dress to be a west coast interpretation on preppy but I think it just ended up being preppy, which is totally fine. It didn’t help that I drank gin and tonics all afternoon. I was in New England. I didn’t have control of my preppiness.

Here is what I wore: wedding edition!

Dress: hot pink strapless dress with a sweetheart neckline. Purchased for the Neiman Marcus close out store for $40 <- BE IMPRESSED

Shoes: DVF gold sandles, DSW for $30

Necklace: Oversized pearl necklace, doubled up.

We loaded into the car and headed to the wedding!

Kat looked cool on the way to the wedding.

The actual wedding was held at a country club in a room overlooking water and islands. It was very New England and quite beautiful!

We were early because that’s how we roll. I took advantage of the free time by snapping pics of the venue.

The cupcake tower was already in place. Obviously, this was the part of the wedding I was most excited about.

Pretty soon the bride arrived and we hustled around helping her. I do not lie when I say that Shahrin was absolutely stunning. I have never seen a more radiant bride. Shahrin radiated happiness all day and I am so so so so happy to see her happy.

So beautiful!

We briefly practiced the processional and then the wedding got underway.

The bridal party processed in after the families. I came in with love letters the couple wrote to each other and a wooden box that they plan to store them in. In 10 years, or if the going gets rough, they are going to open to open the letter and read them. The wedding was non-religious and performed by a justice of the peace. He had sat down with them and talked about each of them separately and together. He also shared words of wisdom about marriage. The ceremony felt like them and I cried several times. They also wrote vows for each other. Shahrin’s were touching and funny. Dan studied creative writing in college and his vows brought me to tears. The ceremony went by quickly and before we knew it they were married!

After the ceremony we went for group pictures. I took the opportunity to assault a cater waiter, shovel 8 spring rolls into my mouth and order and GT from the open bar. I also grabbed my table assignment card.

Is that not the best table assignment card ever? It matched the invite!

Pretty soon the reception started and I turned into a terrible blogger because I was enjoying the party. I did snap a few pictures.

Catie and Sharmin (who did my henna!)

The couple arrives at the party.

First we enjoyed toasts. The toasters were a well selected group of family and friends. They did a great job of picking people from various parts of Shahrin and Dan’s life. Catie gave a toast to the couple that was really touching. It made me tear up.

After toasts we ate:

Then we went to the bridal suite to take more pictures and enjoy cupcakes!

❤ the firm

Obviously I tried all three flavors of cupcakes that were available: dark chocolate mocha, strawberry and lemon!

Kat is demonstrating how delicious the strawberry cupcake was. It was my favorite flavor. The frosting was super light and fluffy. They were from Kick Ass Cupcakes in Sommerville.

Finally Shahrin changed into a white shift dress for dancing! She and Dan kicked the party off with a tango that turned into a dance inspired by a bollywood movie. The dance reflected them as a couple and was such a fun way to kick off dancing.

And then the party really got started. There is nothing in life that I love more than a dance party where my killer cheesy dance moves are encouraged. I raised the roof like it was 1996 and bounced my shoulders to the bollywood beats. It felt like 5 mins went by and the wedding was totally over! I was so sad to see it end but it was absolutely the most fun I have ever had at a wedding. Shahrin was beautiful and I am so happy that she is able to spend her life with her best friend.

I had one more day left in Boston after the wedding. Kat, Catie and I made our way to Simmons, where we spent our college years to visit old professors and take in our old stomping grounds. My camera actually died as I was walking up the steps of the school but this picture Kat took was too cute not to share and, I think, is a fitting way to end the Boston posts…

Simmons women represent!

That’s it for my posts from my trip to Boston. Here are the other posts if you are catching up:

Welcome to Boston

Bridal errands and Harvard Square

Revisiting my favorite restaurants and the bachelorette party

Brunching at Zaftigs

I will be back to regular posting tomorrow.

OK LADIES! Time to fess up… I got to wear a beautiful bridesmaids dress in this wedding but have you ever had to wear a hideous bridesmaids dress? What did it look like?

CM Training Weeks 3, 4, and 5

This post may as well be subtitled “falling off and trying to climb back on the wagon”. As predicted, I didn’t run much in Boston and I didn’t run much when my Mom was in town. I’ve slowly been climbing back on the wagon but I am a bit behind on mileage. I cut my 10 mile run from week 4 into an 8 mile run. You will see why in a second. I was worried that due to the lack of running I would injure myself. After 8 miles my body HURT. Week 5 has been slightly better. I ran 16 miles total and made it to yoga despite my Mom still being in town for part of the week. I did 10 miles yesterday and my body felt really good. I took it slow and easy with one large walk break instead of 3 like I did for 8 miles. I tried really hard to maintain a positive attitude when I was “off the wagon”. I walked a TON in Boston and went to Zumba. I ate well, indulged but didn’t go crazy.

Monday (7/4): 4 mile run

Tuesday: Travel

Wednesday: 7 miles walking

Thursday: lots of walking and Zumba

Friday: Boston! Dancing due to my introduction to house music.

Saturday: Boston

Sunday: Wedding! Dancing!

Monday (7/11): Walking

Tuesday: Travel, 4 mile run

Wednesday: Mom

Thursday: Mom

Friday: Mom

Saturday: 8 mile run

Sunday: Mom, Cleaning (I promise, it was a serious calorie burn)

Monday (7/18): Mom

Tuesday: Mom

Wednesday: 4 mile run

Thursday: Happy hour!

Friday: 2 mile run

Saturday: 10 mile run

Sunday: my triumphant return to yoga!

As you can see, it could be worse. Honestly, I did the best I could with everything that was going on and the jet lag. You can tell by the fact that the blog hasn’t really been properly updated with a recipe in 3 weeks that I’ve been preoccupied. I have a busy week this week but I am making Marathon training a priority and I am resolving to do better!

In other news! Lots of exciting things are coming to the blog in the near future. I have a feature I’ve been compiling called “Best of the West”. Basically, its my guide to the West Side of LA. I also spent countless hours in my kitchen this weekend and I have something savory and something sweet to share with you. Plus I still have one more dispatch from my trip to Boston: the wedding! Get excited people. Good things to come. 

Have you ever fallen off the workout wagon? How do you get back on? 

7 Links

Kaitlin tagged me in a blogging game called 7 links. 7 links is a fun way to connect bloggers and also take a second look at the posts I’ve done in the past. This is exciting since I just wrote my 500th post!

THE GOAL

To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

THE RULES

Blogger is nominated to take part

Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.

Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part.

These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers

And so it goes on!

We’ll be sharing the best posts from participating bloggers on our blog and everyday on Facebook and Twitter at #My7Links

 

So here are my 7 links…

1. Most Beautiful – “Giving Thanks”

I wrote this post for Thanksgiving and it makes me smile every time I read it.

2. Most Popular – “Artichoke Ravioli in White Wine Sauce”

There really is no competition. For some reason this simple recipe is by far my most popular of all time.

3. Most Controversial – My Twitter Feed

I purposefully don’t write controversial posts but that doesn’t mean I don’t have strong opinions. I just keep them off the blog because this space isn’t the space for controversial grandstanding. However, someone associated with the Tea Party once called me a waste of life and education on Twitter so if you are looking for controversy I suggest you start there!

4. Most Helpful – “The Left Coast Contessa Guide to Saving Money at the Farmer’s Market”

This post has tons of tips for saving money while buying fairly priced produce!

5. Surprise Success – “Project Food Blog Round 2 – The Classics”

Truth be told, I was a hot mess while writing this post. It happened during a very stressful time in my life and I realized the morning I was going to write it that I had killed my camera. The whole post was done with pictures from my Andriod phone. Plus I was making baklava, which is one of the more intricate things I’ve ever made. In the end this post was incredibly well received and pushed me to round 3 of Project Food Blog which is way further than I ever expected to get!

6. Not Enough Attention – “Boozy Dark Chocolate Orange Chunk Cookie”

This is a Left Coast original and really, for all the booze and chocolate, I’m surprised this post isn’t more popular!

7. Most Proud – “San Diego Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon Recap”

I was very proud of finishing my first 1/2 marathon in Malibu but I was more proud of kicking the booty of the San Diego 1/2. I didn’t think I was going to run more quickly than my first half but I set a 9 min PR and reignited my love with running. Pain is temporary but pride is forever.

And now tagging other bloggers!

Kate @ Cooking with Kate

Brittney @ Pretty Fit, Pretty Healthy, Pretty Happy

Roxan @ Sweet Shanti

Maura @ Maura me to Love

Pre Breakfast, Breakfast and Breakfast: the sequel

After the Bachelorette dinner, on Friday of my Boston trip, I ended up meeting up with my college roommate Carolyn and going out dancing. We had a lot of fun and were out late but don’t worry, we were still up at 8 am for breakfast. We had been planning Saturday morning breakfast since before I landed in Boston and honestly, this meal may have been the highlight of my trip. We went to Zaftigs in Coolidge Corner which is possibly the greatest Jewish deli of all time.

Obviously we had a pre breakfast on the way to actual breakfast. What can I say, we were hung over hungry.

PB&J Lara Bar, if you were wondering.

After a short walk we made it to Zaftigs.

Typically there is a 30 min long line at Zaftigs in order to get a table but since we were there before 9 we didn’t have a wait very long!

Again, like at Snappy, I didn’t even have to look at the menu to know what I wanted. In addition to an iced tea I ordered my favorite dish: Potato Pancakes with chive sour cream and smoked salmon.

Oh yes. Two of my favorite things ever. Combined.

Who ever put these two items together is a genius. Having just a little bit of sour cream on the top was perfect and I combined it with salmon. Personally I like to wrap the pancake with salmon before enjoying it. As you can tell, this was a hearty portion and I was not able to finish it so I took some back to Carolyn’s apartment.

On the way home we took photos but to be completely honest, the pictures are kind of a hot mess and not publishable. We also stopped at Starbucks for a large latte. It was necessary.

It was also necessary to sit on the couch for two hours after we arrived home, watch Barefoot Contessa and break into my leftovers for breakfast: the sequel. I mean look at that picture? Can you blame me?

Do you love Jewish Deli food? It is totally my comfort food, especially potato pancakes and matzo ball soup.

Old Favorites, New Favorites

Friday was my third day in Boston. It was full of old favorites. I had breakfast with my mentor for college and then I headed into Back Bay for sushi at my favorite sushi spot: Snappy Sushi.

I have a long history with Snappy. The girls and I used to go to Snappy when it was called Shino and was housed in a hole in the wall further down Newbury. When I arrived in Boston I was strolling Newbury and the location where Snappy was housed had a “for lease” sign on it. I was very sad for a moment. I had SO MANY memories with my friends there. It was our go-to dinner out spot. Three blocks later I was overjoyed to see that Snappy hadn’t gone under but merely moved to a better, larger spot with outdoor seating! I knew I had to stop by during my trip.

I nabbed a seat on the patio and broke into a book my mentor bought for me:

Seriously, the best thing you can ever get is a mentor who gets you and really commits to being a mentor. I am so lucky to have a committed mentor who has graciously helped me throughout my career. She changed my life and I cannot be more grateful.

I didn’t even have to look at the menu at Snappy. I knew what I wanted: Crunchy Eel Roll with a side of sushi rice.

Pretty much my favorite sushi roll ever. There is brown rice, crunch, avocado, eel, and eel sauce. I could eat this forever. The sushi rice was brown rice. A few years ago Snappy switched to all brown rice. I actually prefer the brown rice but it was a point of controversy in my group because some do not like brown rice.

My meal was just as good as I remembered it.

Then I met up with the bride for some pampering and then we met up with some old favorites for a last supper as all single ladies:

Photo credit to Kat (the one with the adorable skirt and hair cut on my left).

We hit another one of our all time favorite restaurants for dinner: Bar Lola. We mostly went there senior year and always enjoyed delicious sangria.

I seriously love when my drink comes with a snack.

Bar Lola serves tapas. I love going anywhere where I can sample tons of different foods.

In total I tried:

Olives, artichoke dip with pita, something in the back that I can’t remember what it is, duck confit ravioli, and a breaded scallop

plus

Paella, cod, more artichoke dip, steamed broccoli and part of a lamb chop. Not photographed: all the lamb chop sauce I consumed with bread. It was epic.

After dinner we went our separate ways because the bride was super tired but it was a lovely night with my old (and still) favorites.

Do you like tapas?

In other news: I realize I have been totally MIA from the blog world for the past week. I came back from Boston, was very jet lagged and then LCCMom came into town to facilitate my move. I was so glad to have her help. She left town today and needless to say the last week has been filled with amazing meals, moving, unpacking, treat eating and mother/daughter time. I am very happy that I was able to see her for an extended visit but I am totally bushed. In the past week I ate treats and fell off my marathon training plan. It was worth it but tonight I went for a 4 mile run, ate quinoa (try this if you haven’t already, it is amazing) and am blogging. It’s good for things to get back to normal.

Want an apartment preview?

It isn’t completely done yet but here is a preview.

I know, I’m a huge tease. My camera is out of battery and I want to wait until the apartment is more complete before blogging it. I will say that I used my kitchen tonight and it is my new favorite. I will need to break it in this weekend with some baking 😉 I’m pretty sure my coworkers are going to love me come Monday.

This is my 500th post on Left Coast Contessa! This blog has come a long way in a year and a half. Thank you for reading my blog. I love writing it and I love my readers too!

Boston Day 2: coffee, manicures and zumba

After an action packed first day in Boston I was so relieved to be able to sleep in on Thursday. Soon after waking I reported for bridal party duty. The nearest train stop to the bride’s house is actually Harvard.

I have always enjoyed Harvard Square. There are some great restaurants, coffee shops, shopping and bars to peruse while in the area. I personally have always liked Harvard Square. It has a kind of hippy vibe, like a less intense version of Venice.

After bridal duty I checked into some of my favorite spots.

Like Crema for coffee.

Crema is an adorable and delicious café in Harvard Square. It is independently owned and if you haven’t checked it out yet and you live in Boston then you should! I ordered a non fat, iced latte.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Starbucks but this really is better. I think you can taste the difference.

Then I decided to shop at the Harvard outpost of my favorite consignment store, Second Time Around.

Second Time Around has a great selection of clothing but I wasn’t able to find anything at this location (remember I got the $15 never been worn Tom’s the day before).

I did see these, a sure sign that you are back in Boston:

Don’t worry, no Lilly Pulitzer for me. This style would never fly in LA. Don’t get me wrong: I love prep but this is a bit too much.

I also restrained myself from buying a hot pink Vineyard Vines Blazer. I called my Mom and she talked me off the ledge. That is why God invented Mom’s, to stop you from making rash fashion choices.

Then I got a manicure so I would be wedding ready (clearly, it was also time for more caffeine).

Before I got on the T to go back to Carolyn’s I decided to hit my favorite Boston cup cake spot: Sweet.

Sweet didn’t open this location until after I left Boston but I frequented the Back Bay location since it opened a few years ago. They have many delicious flavors, were recently named “best cupcake” by Improper Bostonian. They pretty much lead the cup cake trend in Boston and we all know I take my cup cakes seriously. Plus, it’s adorable inside.

After spilling my life story to the women behind the counter (“I went to college here, and moved to LA, and went to the Back Bay location, and I write a food blog and I love Susie Cakes” seriously I’m the freak show) I looked over the display cases for the perfect cake.

Facebook cupcake = sure sign that you’re in Harvard Square:

After narrowing down all of the options I settled on the lemon and raspberry cupcake.

The cake was lemon with raspberry jam filling and a cream cheese based frosting. You couldn’t really taste the cream cheese; it tasted more vanilla-lemoney. This was probably the best cupcake I’ve ever had from Sweet. The frosting wasn’t too sweet and the lemon and raspberry flowed together effortlessly. Raspberry and lemon might be one of my favorite fruit flavor combos ever.

I also bought a “frosting shot” for 50 cents. I enjoyed it on the way to the T. I knew that the cupcake had a cream cheese based frosting and I was really craving some butter cream.

Is this not the best concept ever? I think it is!

After cupcakes I clearly needed to workout. Carolyn invited me to go to Zumba with her. I had never tried Zumba before but I’ve read all about it in the blog world. I was pretty sure I would be totally lost for the entire class and I went into it expecting to sweat and just jump around to compensate for having no clue what I was doing. Overall, I LOVED ZUMBA! I seriously am going to work this in as cross training. UCLA does offer classes and I need to make it a priority after classes start again. Zumba is a hip hop and Latin based dance class. Seriously, it’s socially appropriate to booty pop; I am so there! The class was intense but not too challenging. Even though I was sweating buckets I didn’t feel like I was working out. It was epic.

Afterwards we enjoyed wine in a public square near Carolyn’s house. It was a perfect vacation night!

What would be your perfect vacation night? Drinking wine with friends, having fun and laughing my tush off is pretty much perfection in my book.

Welcome to Boston

As I announced earlier this week, I am spending this week in Boston, visiting my old haunts, eating treats with my former roommate and attending another friend’s wedding. I took the red eye to Boston on Tuesday night. Wednesday I bounded off of my flight with the most ridiculous adrenaline high of all time. I made my way to Carolyn’s house on the T, dropped my bags off, said hi before she went to work and immediately hit the city for some sightseeing. And when I say “sightseeing” we all know that I really mean eating at my favorite restaurants and going to my favorite stores.

The Citgo sign near Fenway Park, very close to where I lived when I was in undergrad and after graduation.

My initial plan of attack was to go to Flour for breakfast. I took the bus to the South End. The South End might be my favorite neighborhood in Boston. There are tons of great restaurants, bakeries, beautiful brownstones and there are fewer tourists than in Back Bay (which is closer to the Charles).

How can you not love this neighborhood?

Rutland is one of my favorite streets. I used to fantasize about owning a Brownstone on Rutland when I was in college.

Sadly, when I arrived at the South End Flour location I learn that it is closed this week for renovations! What? They didn’t know I was coming?! I quickly came up with a new plan for my day. I decided to save Flour for lunch and instead walked from the South End to Back Bay.

I love the cobblestone streets. If I got a dollar every time I twisted my ankle while walking down cobblestone streets in heels in the rain while in college I would be a billionaire.

Once in Back Bay I made my way to Trident.

Trident is a book store and café on Newbury Street. I have many fond memories from college surrounding Trident. I used to study there once a week, typically on Friday mornings. Trident is also awesome because you can read a magazine while you eat and then return it to the racks. The food is pretty delicious also. The mac and cheese is TO DIE FOR. Usually when I went there I was ordering breakfast. The staff is super friendly and I even recognized a few faces from the old days.

Doing what I usually do at Trident.

I ordered my favorite order: pancakes with a side of bacon and an iced tea.

Possibly my favorite pancakes ever. Soft, fluffy, crispy on top, with just a bit of syrup and butter. As good as I remembered.

So good.

After eating I looked around the stacks. I love independent book stores, and Trident is my favorite.

One of my favorite Boston authors was on the shelves: Jhumpa Lahiri. If you haven’t read her you need to! She is amazing.

After Trident I strolled up and down Newbury taking stock of the things that had changed:

What is this, LA or Boston?

My groups favorite sushi spot moved into bigger, nicer digs.

And the things that never will:

Sonsie was the first restaurant I ever ate at in Boston, back when I was looking at colleges. They have amazing doors that open and are great for lunch.

Stephanie’s has amazing salads. I ate here immediately after graduation.

Second Time Around, my favorite consignment store, ever.

I love you Newbury Street.

My walk ended at the Public Garden. I rested my feet and took some pictures.

Swan boats.

The State House, where I interned for a semester!

The location where my friend that is getting married was proposed to:

Then I made my way to the new Flour location near MIT for lunch. I walked down Commonwealth Ave., one of my favorite walks in Boston.

Past the hotel where my parents always stayed, almost a home away from home:

And over the MIT bridge:

How can you NOT love this walk?

Soon enough I made it to Flour.

We all know that I have an extreme Flour obsession. I walked in and knew exactly what I wanted. I pretty much spilled my whole life story to the counter help explaining that I went to college in Boston but moved to LA and was obsessed with Flour and used to get sticky buns once a week and how I owned the cookbook and have a food blog and how much I admire Joanna Chang (the owner) and her career path. I’m pretty sure he thought that I was insane.

So many sandwiches and treats to choose from:

I ended up with a half sandwich (since I was still fairly full from pancakes). I got my favorite: Roast Beef with horseradish, crispy onions and arugula.

One of the reasons Flours sandwiches are so delicious (besides the flavor combinations) is the bread. The bread is soft, spongy, but with the right amount of crisp on the edges. Delicious!

I also got a sticky bun and a brownie to go which I shared with Carolyn. As good as I remembered and better!

I finished my day by shopping in the Prudential Center and hitting Second Time Around where I scored a pair of never been worn Toms for $15! <- the reason why it’s my favorite store, ever!

Dinner was not blogged and took place in Beacon Hill, another favorite neighborhood. I know, I know. I love every neighborhood in Boston! Caroyln and I had fig and prosciutto pizza from Figs and a watermelon, goat cheese and balsamic salad. It was pretty freaking amazing. If you live in Boston and you haven’t been to Figs you need to hit it up!

Overall being in Boston has been amazing. It’s a bit odd coming back and visiting. I’ve changed a lot since my time in Boston and coming to visit underscores how much has changed in my life in the past two years. Don’t worry; its change in a good way. We can call it growth. It’s a bit odd not feeling like a tourist but clearly not being a local anymore. Boston is one of my favorite cities in the world and who knows, maybe I’ll be a local again someday!

What is your favorite city to visit? Boston is top for me, as well as Paris, Chicago, and LA. Despite not being a city, Martha’s Vineyard also has my heart.