things that are awesome right now

1. Beverly Hills, palm trees

**if you live in a cold part of the country you might want to advert your eyes**

How can you look at this and not be in a fantastic mood? Not to mention I had an awesome siting of Indiana Jones himself while I was driving through town.

2. Baking with friends

Yesterday Danielle and I had a massive baking extravaganza. In total we iced cupcakes, made chunky Lola cookies, brioche, goo for sticky buns, and cornmeal and raspberry muffins. It was intense and I have way too many baked goods. We caught up on everything that’s been going on and even planned a law school baking throw down. Get excited.

and the aftermath…

3. New Christmas ornaments

4. Creamed honey

I ran out of honey this week and all I had was creamed honey. I was also short on cash because it was that time in the semester when we’re all waiting for our loans to come through. Instead of spending half of my remaining money on honey (I did contemplate it through) I found this in my cabinet and decided to use it.

I also learned an important lesson about spending. I do a bit too much of it. I’m quick to rush out and buy something new when I have an good replacement in my pantry.

New goal for 2011: be more mindful of my spending.

Off on a 5 miles run! Hope you have an awesome day too 🙂

Goals for 2011

Happy New Year! How is 2011 going for you so far? Last night I came down with a cold but I’m still making it out this afternoon for a 4 mile run. Gotta start the new year out right! For me 2010 was a year where I got to know myself and I started making healthier decision for myself. 2009 was a year of big change for me but 2010 was about getting on track after all that change. I feel like I had some serious self growth in 2010. With that in mind and after some reflection I’ve come up with my goals for the new year.

  1. Continue living my healthy lifestyle. 2010 was the year I got healthy, lost 20 lbs. and started running. It has been an incredible year and I want to continue this lifestyle throughout 2011.
  2. Floss more. It’s a little gross but my dentist just reprimanded me. Clearly I need to remedy this situation.
  3. Run a marathon. If you’ve talked to me in person or follow my twitter you know that I have a slight 26.2 obsession. It’s also on my bucket list! I might have a plan up my sleeve to accomplish this goal so stay tuned!
  4. Explore my home state. It might surprise you, but I haven’t spent that much time outside of LA. Sure, I’ve been to Orange County, the Inland Empire, and Palm Desert but I want spend time in other parts of the state this year. I’ve never been to Northern California, Santa Barbara, San Diego or anywhere in between. This is the year I get to know my state!
  5. Continue blogging and focus on refining my blog. I love blogging and have been at it for almost a year. I was to make sure I continue through 2011. I also want to focus on the content of my blog and improving it.
  6. Be more mindful of the energy I put into the universe. This may sound vague, but when I went back to yoga last year I was reminded about energy and setting intention. I believe that the energy you put into the universe and the intention you carry can change the outcomes in your daily life and the people and opportunities that come your way. The quote “when you change the way you look at things, the thing you look at change” applies here. I want to remind myself every morning to go into the day with an open and accepting positive mindset.

What are your goals for 2011?

Welcome to the Detox

Hello blog world! Greeting from California! Yes, I am home in LA and minus the rain we had today I am happy to be here.

**Disclaimer: this post is about weight loss**

The theme of the week is detox.I also haven’t posted about my weight in a while (uh, since May?) so I thought this would be a nice little update on both.

If you read the blog you know that finals, finals ending, and the holidays are a major time of indulgence for me. I don’t really limit myself in what I eat when it comes to the holidays. I eat my normal meals when there isn’t a special event, and I ran 12 miles last week. Business as usual with special extras. Bottom line: my Mom makes really good cookies and if I eat 6 cookies and some ice cream one then so be it is my general attitude. The world won’t end. It’s just a cookie and I live an active lifestyle.

With that attitude in mind I ate cookies, ice cream, potatoes, bacon, soup, ham, cheese (lots and lots of cheese), popcorn, sushi, pizza, beer, wine, prosecco and cocktails. I have always been a black belt eater meaning I always can make room in my stomach for a little more food. In the past it has taken a large portion of food to make me feel full. This is no longer the case. As of Monday night my stomach was screaming surrender and I had sharp shooting pains. I was eating what everyone else was eating and I was the only one with a stomach ache so it wasn’t food poisoning. It was my stomach saying the party is over.

Its been almost one year since I started running, eating healthy, and building my active lifestyle (I started January 1st 2010). 2010 was the year of the detox for me. The changes I’ve made in the past year have resulted in a change in my system. Despite the fact that I didn’t eat crazy portions, I cannot eat like I used to and whats more, I don’t want to. I always heard people say “when you eat healthy you will start to crave the healthy food” and I thought it was the biggest sham but it’s actually true for me. Of course I want cookies, cheese, bacon and cocktails but I cannot actually eat massive portions like I used to. In addition, going for three days without running felt like a million years. One morning I woke up hung over and felt totally icky. I thought back to the feeling I had the day before stepping off the treadmill after my 5 mile run and I wished I felt that way again. The feeling I have post run trumps every unhealthy overindulgence. I love my new lifestyle and there isn’t anything I would trade it for.

Oh and also, I threw out my scale. This happened in August, when I hit the 20 lbs lost point. Every time I stepped on the scale it read the same weight down to the decimal- clearly this couldn’t be accurate. In August I bought a pair of size 28 jeans. I wear a size 4 skirt and as long as those fit I don’t care what the scale says. I am giving all my “pre active lifestyle” clothing that don’t fit anymore away because that isn’t my lifestyle anymore. Remember the post I did about wanting to be under 140? Arbitrary number and arbitrary goal. Feeling good is the goal. Striving for a number didn’t make me happy. Weighing myself didn’t make me happy.  Looking at the scale everyday in my bathroom, even when I wasn’t weighing myself was stressful and it didn’t make me happy. Thus, the scale went out the window. My lifestyle makes me feel fantastic. I don’t want anything in my life that doesn’t make me feel fantastic.

In the spirit of detox, this week I am cooking almost exclusively out of the Super Natural Food Cookbook and the Skinny Bitch Cookbook. Yep, the theme of the week is detox and feeling and living well. Sipping on Kombucha and starting 2011 off right! My stomach feels better just thinking about it 🙂

Cookie Overdose

Yesterday was such a treat! I got to take a nice, much needed study break to socialize with other blogger at a cookie exchange. I definitely ODed but it was totally worth it!

Why, yes. There were 6 people but we managed to produce 9 types of cookies. It’s how blogger roll. Also notice the lone cheese plate and veggie plate. You need something to chase the cookies with, right? I already know Kaitlin and Andy & Amanda. I also met Kaitlin’s roommate Mark and Melissa from Trying to Heal.

And the cookies? Amazing!

My peanut butter cookies from the Flour Cookbook

From left to right: Dough balls by Kaitlin, orange chocolate cookies by Mark, smore cookies by Kaitlin, behind that you can see brie (!), and in the corner the cutest mini chocolate chip oatmeal cookies ever by Amanda & Andy.

There was also peppermint bark by Melissa! All the cookies were amazing this might have been my favorite of the afternoon.

The last batch!

Lemon and strawberry wippersnappers by Melissa, and finally almond Cinnamon cookies by Kaitlin. Whew.

We ate cookies and chatted for three hours! Time flies when you’re having fun. It was great chatting with some awesome blogger (I guess now we’re friends) and eating!

Group pic! Thanks to Kaitlin for hosting and for letting me steal this photo!

Kaitlin’s house is totally decked out for the holidays and she has a real tree, named Douglass because he is a Douglass Fir obvi. This inspired me to get my tree out tonight! I had a 6 hour long final and after I was exhausted but I managed to find the energy to decorate.

I told Izzy that if she wore the Santa hat she could have a treat but she wasn’t interested so just stuck to setting up the tree.

Why yes, my tree is silver and mini and fake. It doesn’t have a name yet but I am open to suggestions!

My favorite part of the tree are the ornaments. Every year growing up my Mom would give my brother and I an ornament as a gift that reflected what happened in our lives that year. Last year was my first year in my own apartment and my Mom sent me some. Last year I got surfing Santa.

So cute! My other favs are my Frango Mint ornament (you understand that if you’re from Chicago), Raggedy Ann ornament, Starbucks cup ornament, martini glass ornament, Clara from the Nutcracker, skating ornament, and my ornament with my Senior quote from high school on it. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”, in case you were curious.

I also hung a wreath and Christmasfied my dining table:

Don’t you just love the holidays?

And now an announcement!

As readers know, I recently ran the Malibu Half Marathon and loved it! Running is definitely a long term hobby for me and I have been thinking about what race I want to run next. Well, I am ready to announce, my next race will be the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in San Diego! The race is in early June and several other bloggers are planning on running. It should be a pretty fun time. Since Malibu I have averaged between 10 and 17 miles a week. I am very glad I don’t have training pressure during finals but I am excited to run in another race! After the holidays I will post a training plan. Since this will be my second half I will probably complete more long runs. I am very excited, and I hope you are too!

Finals Day 6

Cookies consumed: Countless (+1)

Bagels consumed: 3

YouTube videos watched: 7

Finals taken: 1 (but it was the longest one! Wahoo!)

The Godmother

Today and Yesterday have been busy days.

Yesterday I tried to go to yoga. Twice. It just wasn’t my day.

The first time I tried to go to yoga I drove around a parking lot that insisted it had 15 available spots. Yeah. It didn’t. So I went to Panera and studied until the next class.

I got to the second class but the teacher didn’t. At that point I surrendered and went home.

Today was much better though! Not only did I feel good about the studying I had a good day.

I meet up with Kelly for a study break lunch at Bay Cities in Santa Monica. Bay Cities has 1300 reviews on Yelp and 4.5 stars, does it get any more stellar?

Bay Cities is an Italian deli and shop. They have great sandwiches, bread, pastas, cheese, and olive oil selection. You place your order at the deli counter and then eat outside on the patio.

Check out the garlic in the bottom right corner! We wandered the aisles.. there were so many truffle oils, I will need to go back. The cheese selection was good (holy giant mozzarella) and not too pricey. Next time I need specialty items I know where I’m headed!

We both ordered the signature sandwich, the Godmother, with the works. I mean, the name of the sandwich is etched in the window of the store (see below). How could I not order it?

The counter was pretty busy but we got through pretty fast. We picked out sodas (diet A&W!) and headed outside to enjoy.

I’m not sure what all was on “the works” version of the Godmother, but I can tell you that the bread is freshly baked. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. There are tons of meats in this sandwich and provolone cheese.

Yep, it really was “the works”. I only ate half the sandwich for lunch and I ate the other half for dinner tonight. This was a good sandwich. I think it was the bread that really made it special. Also the meat to cheese to topping ratio was perfect. Sometimes you get a sandwich and there is too much meat but this was just right!

After dropping Kelly off I found a metered parking spot with 40 mins left two blocks from Huckleberry. It would be wrong not to drop in! Right? Right? I grabbed a lemon bar which I ate after dinner.

I love lemon bars and this one did not let me down. It was a little tart but more sweet. There was lemon zest in the bar which was actually pretty good.

The lemon part was light and sugary. So delicious. Huckleberry is always a win.

After lunch I studied more and got my hair cut! I really, really needed it. I am totally that girl who walks into the salon and says “do whatever you want”. I’ve had super long hair, to a pixie cut and tons of styles in between. However, I made an executive decision: time to grow out my bangs.  I have had bangs in one iteration or another since 2007. It was time for a change.

If kinda reminded me of someone I idolize hair…

Source

Yep, I’m a Jackie, not a Marilyn. Its true.

Day 3 of Finals

Cookies consumed: 1

YouTube Video’s watched: 5 (here, here, here, here)

Bagels consumed: 2

Finals taken: 0

Giving Thanks

What are you thankful for this year?

I’m thankful for…

Delicious food.

Photogenic Food.

Family, their good health and love and support.

Small animals.

Larger animals.

Getting to study what I want to study….

Where I want to study.

For my friends both near…

and far…

and virtual…

For my good heath and the ability to run, walk and stretch.

For all of the small, beautiful things everyday.

I am thankful for you lovely reader, because I get to blog about something I love for fun.

I am thankful for all the good blessings in my life of which there are many. I am thankful to be secure,to have a roof over my head and the ability to help others less fortunate.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow I am going to Catie’s parents house in the Inland Empire. I am thankful to have a place to go this year. I’m a little surprised by how homesick I am. I only go home about twice a year for a week at a time max and rarely feel really homesick. Maybe its because its my first Thanksgiving away from home. I know tomorrow will be a wonderful day though and I have so much to be thankful for.

What are you thankful for this year?

I have a fever…

And the only cure are more salted caramel macaroons! For real. It’s love.

I had another opportunity to hit Tavern for lunch yesterday. I didn’t pack lunch and forgot my debit card so I had to go home to get it and then before I knew it I was in my car and parking in a spot directly in front of the restaurant. What can I say? It was meant to be.


I also grabbed an ice tea. Obviously its always more tasty to buy an ice tea than it is to make one.

I took the bounty home to eat while I read. The to go meals at lunch at Tavern are so cute! They come with sweet potato chips….

Notice how Izzy is licking her chops. Everyone loves Tavern!

and the sandwich of the day…

The special was ham and cheese with tomato, lettuce, mustard and butter! Yes, you heard right, BUTTER!

It was fantastic. I cannot lie. Could you imagine it being anything but?

The ham wasn’t your typical ham, it was special and expensive ham and the cheese wasn’t normal cheese but the greatest Gruyere I’ve ever had in a sandwich. And it had butter on the freshly baked bread that is made in house!

What can top this?

Hello, lover.

For real. I’m having a serious committed relationship with my salted caramel macaroons and there is nothing wrong with that. This was the best random lunch ever. Don’t you love when something happens to throw off your daily routine and you get to do something extra special? I sure do.

Also tonight I ate this…

The parsnips a super freak!

 

I sure am enjoying my short week before Thanksgiving. I am going to my friend Catie’s families house (we’re calling it “shea”nksgiving). Can’t wait for some time off!

 

Hope you all have a fun plan for Thanksgiving break!

 

Things are about to get serious…

So a few days ago I confidently announced that there are no dishes that scare me. I think its true. I see complicated dishes as a challenge and I’ve always loved a challenge. I mean, hell, I’m in law school. I’m not sure why ‘almond flour’ translates into hardcore in my mind, but it does. Today I spent $9 on almond flour (you win again Whole Foods!) and tomorrow I am attempting a fabu dessert from the Flour Cookbook. The recipe has homemade frangipane and pate brisee. The names are French which makes them sound intense. I am a little but nervous but mostly excited.

Stay tuned for some baking magic…

Stress-vember

Hey there blog world. Sorry there are no pictures yet from Halloweekend. I used Catie’s camera (because I need to find a receipt from last January in order to get mine fixed) and I’m having a problem transferring the picture off the camera. But I will deliver at some point. I promise!

Today is the 1st of November so happy November. Yesterday after the race I had an anticipatory panic attack about the entire month of November. The last day of November is the last day of class so that means that it is time to gear up for finals. In law school this includes outlining, practice test taking while keeping up with the usual work load. I know it will all get done but thinking about the volume of what has to be accomplished and the fact that my entire grade hinges on my ability to do it well is very stressful.

I’m lucky to have a lot of exciting social events in the next few weeks but at the same time, they take away from my ability to complete work. That being said, my social life is taking the backseat for the next two months, the blog might as well. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here all the time but I might not be posting everyday like I usually do. Or maybe I will. The blog is a great source of stress relief for me so who know.

I did want to take time to complete a questionnaire that Kaitlin tagged me in on her blog so here it is!

What was your motivation to start blogging?

My motivation to start blogging was Law School! After one semester I needed a creative outlet for my thoughts and a place where I could be and interact with other people around a topic that wasn’t school. Two weeks into first semester Left Coast Contessa was born.

If you had to sum up your blog with five words, what would they be?

Girl enjoys butter, cocktails, running.

Do you have any embarrassing blog-related moments? If so, spill!

Not that I can think of. I have embarrassing cooking moments like starting a small kitchen fire or forgetting to put flour in cookies. Sometimes I make random typos that aren’t edited out, like putting questions marks where they don’t belong.

What is a dish you’ve been too intimidated to try?

After pasta, nothing scares me.

But there are some challenging thing I want to try like layer cake, bread, and sushi.

What is your favorite dish to cook for others?

Anything from the Flour cookbook because everything from the Flour cookbook is good.

What was the first healthy living, food or fitness blog you discovered?

Carrots n Cake! Followed closely by Healthy Tipping Point and Eat, Live, Run

Do you crave sweet or salty? Or both? Or neither? But if you say neither, I’ll assume you’re lying…

Both! I have chocolate every night and I love love love salt! I love food and I basically crave everything.

What is your favorite restaurant not in or very close to a town in which you live or have lived?

Tough one! I love Le Pamphlet in Paris, France; everywhere in the entire country of Turkey. In the US I love the ice cream at Scoops in Edgartown, MA (on the vineyard). I also love the seafood on Marco Island in Florida.

Hope you enjoyed the questionnaire! Thanks to Kaitlin for tagging me on it!

New Distractions, New Discoveries

Today was a day of new discoveries and new distractions from my cold. I am feeling better than yesterday, probably like 70%. If I am at 90% tomorrow it would be amazing! I think I felt so much better because I allowed myself to sleep in today which meant I had to miss my early class. I was sad I missed it (I know, I’m a nerd who actually likes going to class) but I really needed the sleep.

I finally emerged from my apartment after being home for almost 24 hours. After my class I didn’t want to go home, but I wanted to get out of the law building and I needed to get some reading done.

That was when I made a new discovery.

I decided to take a detour into the botanical garden on campus. What a delightful little find! You walk past the clutch of medical students smoking outside their building and there is a beautiful, serene, secluded oasis in the middle of the city.

I walked down the path for a while and enjoyed the fresh air.

Can you see the turtle?

After walking for a while I picked a place to sit (there are benches throughout the gardens) and I did my reading.

It was so nice and I didn’t want to leave so I read a little more than the assignment for tomorrow. After a while it was time to head back to the real world.

I had a new distraction waiting in my mail box when I got home: Izzy’s Halloween costume!

Last year she was a Spinx:

Doesn’t she look happy about it?

This year: Izzy will be a ballerina! We immediately had a photo shoot!

Obviously some bribery was necessary to make this shot happen.

 

"What am I wearing?"

and my personal favorite:

Ah, gazing out the window and contemplating life. Sorry no food today (sick = can of soup), but I have a fantastic fall dish on tap for tomorrow so stay tuned!

Do you dress up for Halloween? If so, what are you going to be?