Malibu-ing

Thursday was a pretty sad day. For the past few months many of my friends have been filtering out of the city. Several of my close friends left the city right after graduation. Immediately after graduation I missed them but I was so preoccupied all summer with the bar exam that I didn’t notice their absence immediately. Now that the bar is over more people are leaving the city. One of those people is my friend Eric who has been on the blog numerous times. With his leaving, our core law school group has been smashed. He’s only going to be in Orange County but still, I cannot run, literally, to his house for whiskey or absinthe or wine or beer.

I know so sad.

Luckily we had a plan to counteract the impending sadness. Wine, food, trolling each other incessantly and frolicking.

The afternoon started with me arriving at Eric’s, us opening a bottle and toasting our friendship, the end of the bar and my upcoming birthday!

Check the wine he had:

Flip Flop: Left Coast. In honor of the blog!

Shortly thereafter Phil and Jessica arrived in Phil’s bitchin’ 80’s red BMW convertible. We hit the 10 and drove north on the 1, top down. It was a truly stunning day.

Hey dudes.

On the way north we stopped for provisions before pulling into Solstice Canyon in Malibu. Solstice Canyon is an awesome hiking trail with a water fall and a stream.

We walked down the path to a picnic area that was shaded and really mellow. It was pretty hot on Thursday but it was nice and cool in the shade.

We even inherited a table with a table cloth on it from some other people who were leaving and we set out our picnic.

Keeping it classy with twist off top wine we bought at the gas station.

Brie, flat bread, pate, and hot flaming cheetos. Some of these things are not like the others.

We mostly just hung out, reminisced about law school and just messed around. Later our friend Haylee joined us and we celebrated her recent engagement.

Picnics always ftw.

We also harassed Eric about his inability to open the bear safe trash can.

We can graduate from law school but cannot open bear safe trash cans. Can’t win them all.

Eventually we extracted ourselves from the picnic area and made a quick pit stop by the beach for some light frolicking.

I love Malibu. I love the beach. I’m never leaving LA.

Overall, it was a great day. I miss my friends who have left but I’m glad for all the good times we’ve had.

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The ends not near, it’s here.

On top of the mountain. Get it?

So last Wednesday I took my final law school exam and as we speak I am editing the final paragraphs of my Clinical Project. I will be completely and totally finished with everything associated with law school this evening. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my law school experience over the past few weeks and going through the normal graduation associated emotions: happiness at ending, pride in my accomplishment, apprehension about the future, and sadness to see several of my closest buddies moving away.

To be completely honest, law school was really tough for me. My 1L year was by far the most challenging for me in my personal life and it was equally challenging in my academic life. With my chaotic personal life it took me longer to adjust to law school than I wanted to. I’d always been a fantastic, near-perfect student and it was really hard for me not to do well immediately. I was very hard on myself for not being the perfect law student and I felt like I was failing at everything in my life.

Half way though first year I began running and started this blog. I am so thankful that I did. Left Coast Contessa gave me an outlet during 1L and something to focus on outside of school. I got healthier and more confident. I stayed in touch with my amazing support network of friends from undergrad. I was fortunate to have two fantastic summers at fulfilling jobs that I loved with excellent mentors to remind me why I went to law school. I eventually got a handle on classes and discovered that it’s totally acceptable to not be 100% perfect at school.

I think the biggest lesson that law school taught me was not to be so hard on myself. Law school also forced me to explore my identity outside being an overachiever. I’m probably the only person you know to have gone to law school and become more calm and less stressed out. Law school taught me that it’s ok to be an average student. In fact, after law school my ability to do great on an issue spotting examination really won’t matter. Law school confirmed for me that I get the most out of my work when it surrounds social justice. I discovered just how much I love that moment when I’m really able to connect and help someone improve their life.

Law school also taught me how special my undergraduate experience was. Simmons College really is one of a kind. Probably because I went straight from undergrad to law school I was acutely aware of the differences between the two schools. Simmons prepared me for law school because it made me the woman I am today. Simmons gave me self-assurance, confidence and transformed me from a girl into a woman. The friends I made at Simmons carried me though graduate school and were supportive sounding boards. Simmons nurtured me and I cannot imagine going to law school without the experience of Simmons. Frequently while at law school I would think about Simmons and the community there. It will always be special to me and there really is nowhere on earth like it.

Law school has also given me some fantastic friendships that I am very thankful for. I feel like I’ve been through a war with these people and no matter what we will always have that bond. I’ve also had the privilege to sit in classrooms filled with some of the most intelligent people I will ever meet. I am still blown away by my classmates on a routine basis. I feel lucky to be included in the same class as them.

There hasn’t been a day where I drive to school down Sunset Blvd and I don’t pinch myself. Graduating from UCLA Law is very honestly something that I could not have imagined in my wildest fantasy for my life. I remember looking at the prospectus on a bench in the Prudential Center in Boston on a warm June day in 2008 thinking “this is a pipe dream”. I remember driving by entrance to UCLA on Sunset when I was on my first trip to LA in August of 2006 thinking “I want to go to graduate school there”. The privilege of going to UCLA Law has not been lost on me and I would not be here without the teachers and advocates throughout school who made sure I got the help I needed to perform to my full potential. I would not be here without the mentor I had in undergrad who helped me network into internships, assistantships and fellowships. I would not be here without my fantastically supportive parents who literally would have done anything to help me succeed to my full potential. I would likely not be here without the absurd amount of economic and racial privilege that helped me go to superior public school and allowed me to not worry about financials during school (yeah I worked hard but I’m graduating with a specialization in critical race theory- I need to acknowledge that privilege has lead to many of the opportunities I’ve had).

These are the thoughts that I’ve been turning over in my mind over the past few weeks. My family arrives on Thursday. Graduation is on Friday and I cannot wait to walk across the stage, get my hood and become a Juris Doctor. Thank you so much, reader, for following me for the past 2.5 years on this blog. Like I said above, this blog really helped me navigate the waters of law school and it’s nice to know that there were people following along on the journey.

Seasonal Eats

Another week and I’ve been MIA. I know, I know. It was the last full week of class this week and finals are impending as I mentioned earlier this week.

4 exams, 1 35-page paper before December 16th. What was I thinking? I am way too easily swept up in the excitement of classes that sound interesting and/or are with great professors. The good news is that only 2 of my exams utilize “black letter law” which is good for this theory loving girl.

But for the record, I feel a bit like this right now:

Alert, anxious and rifling through paper.

So, as I mentioned it was a busy week but I did manage to cook a delicious dinner this week. Unfortunately, I did not come up with the recipe myself. Can’t win them all.

I made Pumpkin Mac and Cheese and it was everything I wanted and more. I love those dinners that you can make in a casserole dish and then eat out of for meals. Yes, this means I ate pumpkin mac and cheese three times this week. Don’t judge. I foresee this happening more than once in the next few weeks.

This was also my first time using pumpkin, rather than just laying on them. I KNOW, I KNOW. All healthy living bloggers, whatever that is, are OMGSOOBSESSED with pumpkin. I have decided that I like pumpkin in certain contexts. For example, I for sure like pumpkin topped with whipped cream or with carbs and cheese. I still have 3/4 of a can chilling in my fridge so I need to figure out what to do with that. If you have any suggestions for a 3/4 can of pumpkin let me know by dropping a comment!

In other news, Thanksgiving is next week and Kaitlin is hosting! I am so excited to have thanksgiving with Kaitlin. She’s a food blogger so I know it’s going to be good eating plus lots of wine and I’m clearly going to need a break at that point. I’ve decided to make Eat, Live, Run’s caramelized Brussels sprouts because, as we know, I love Brussels sprouts. I also plan to make my eggplant dip. Any by “my” I mean “my mother’s” and by “my mother’s” I really mean “Barefoot’s”. I’ve never blogged the recipe so you can look forward to that next week!

Finally, I have Tavern news!

My favorite restaurant has opened another outpost in Beverly Hills. I haven’t been yet since I live walking distance from the original but if you’re in that hood make sure to check it out!

Go get yourself a treat. You earned it.

Also, I found Suzanna Goin’s (the chef/owner of Tavern) Brussels sprouts recipe which is on the Tavern Thanksgiving menu: Braised Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Balsamic, and Breadcrumbs. Oh yes. I debated making it for Thursday but there are going to be many veggies at Kaitlin’s thanksgiving and I want to be accommodating. I debated bastardizing the recipe by switching out the veal stock and pancetta but doing that just didn’t sit right with me.

But! I encourage you to make it and let’s face it. It has pancetta and Brussels sprouts so I will be making it eventually!

And finally, Congrats to everyone who passed the bar today! I cannot believe that a year from now I’ll be finding out my bar results.

So, since I have no free time to cook my own things, link me a great, easy, quick recipe for me to try.

Linguini with Caramelized Fennel

There are two things that I love: fennel and anything caramelized.

Don’t act surprised. Fennel has a licoricey flavor. Caramelizing involves cooking something in butter for an extended period of time. What NOT to love?

You may have noticed that it’s been a while since I’ve featured a pasta dish on the blog. I love me some pasta but I ate a great deal of quinoa while marathon training and I still am eating a great deal of it. However, the other day I came home from school and was just craving a big bowl of pasta. I blame the cooler weather and the impending rain. It makes me want to carb load. But then again, everything makes me want to carb load.

It’s been a while since I’ve cooked something truly blog worthy. I blame law school. I’m taking some really interesting classes but I have 4 exams and a 35 page paper all staring me down in December. What was I thinking!? Finals prep normally lasts for about a month and my fear of how much work I have to do have motivated me to start earlier than usual.

Finals are starting to get to me. Like today. I did laundry. I washed, dried and folded it before I realized that I neglected to add detergent. Seriously people. Sometimes I wonder about myself.

In any case! My meals have been roasted veggies and quinoa -> boring. Hopefully I can make some bloggable meals in the next few weeks. I promise to try!

Linguini with Caramelized Fennel

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 servings of brown linguini (portion determined per package directions)

2 tbs unsalted butter

1 blub of fennel, sliced length wise

1 can diced, unsalted tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup red wine

1 head of broccoli

Goat Cheese

Oregano

Salt

Pepper

Instructions:

Cook pasta in salted pasta water. When the pasta is halfway done cooking add the broccoli to the boiling water. Drain and set aside once al dente.

Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Add the sliced fennel. Stir gradually at a low heat until the fennel softens.

It might take a while. Add a pinch of salt and pepper while stirring.

Once the fennel has softened add the garlic until fragrant. It should only take minute.

Then add the can of diced tomatoes and red wine. Turn the heat up.

Let the sauce cook until it has reduced a little. Add more salt and pepper. Add the oregano. Stir frequently.

Add the pasta and the broccoli to the mix and combine well with the pasta. Serve in a bowl with a big dollop of goat cheese on top.

The fennel really serves as a substitute for onion and I really like it. The sauce isn’t anything too different than usual but I loved mixing it up with fennel. I really like a simple diced tomato and red wine sauce. I added the goat cheese on a whim at the last moment but it the perfect way to top the pasta. The noodles were warm and melted the goat cheese. Melted goat cheese on pasta? Yes! All day everyday!

How was your weekend? Considering finals, mine still managed to be pretty fun.

Law School Perks

Sometimes law school is a soul sucking experience designed to make you feel like you’ll never be right again.

Sometimes you get free things branded from West Law and Lexus, the two major legal research engines. For example, t shirts, water bottles, and free copies of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Constitution. Sexy.

And sometimes you win in a major way and you get free food and beer for making it to 3L.

And if you’re really, really lucky your professor will let you get food and beer and bring them into class.

Exhibit A:

Free tacos and beer!

In exchange they wanted a donation for the class gift. I almost asked if I could post date my check for 15 years from now. I restrained myself.

Also!

It wouldn’t be a blog post without a marathon update. No, I am not going show you another picture of me covered in water at mile 19+. But I will show you a picture of the amazing Chicago themed 26.2 sticker I affixed to my car the other day.

Yep. I’m one of those people now! I’m so glad I waited and ordered this Chicago specific one rather than getting a generic 26.2 sticker. It goes nicely with my red car and my Obama 2012 sticker.

I also did an excellent job of getting to Zumba directly after class today. On Wednesday I’m at school for 10 hours and normally am completely exhausted by the end of the day. During marathon training I always took a rest day on Wednesday but it was really nice to get out and get moving. I was still tired at the end of the day but I wasn’t nearly as exhausted as I usually am. I also went on a 3 mile run yesterday, my first since the marathon. I’m really glad I took a full week off after my marathon and I definitely need to train myself off walk breaks if I want to get faster. The temptation to walk was so strong on my run yesterday. Clearly this is a sign that I need to work on pacing and motivation in the future but for now it’s nice that working out is low pressure.

What is your favorite workout that I should try?

Coffee recap

April 27th – III (3)



April 28 – IIIII (5)






April 29 – III (3)




April 30 (II) 2


Can of Diet Coke while taking an exam.

May 1 II (2)



May 2 (IIII) 4





May 3 (IIIII) 5






May 4 (IIII) 4





May 5 (IIII) 4


French Press (3 cups)


May 6 (II) 2

+ 1 Latte during my exam

May 7 (IIIII) 5






May 8 (III) 3

Medium Latte, Coffee in the library (illegal, don’t tell anyone), Large latte

May 9 (II) 2

Ice Tea +


May 10 (II) 2



May 11 (II) 2

Medium Latte, diet coke all consumed during exam

May 12 (II) 2

Large latte, cup of coffee all consumed during exam

GRAND TOTAL: 50!

Congrats to Whitney! Email me at leftcoastcontessa@gmail.com to collect your prize!

Finals ended yesterday with a 4.5 hour exam that started at 8:15. So evil to have an exam that long start that early. Yesterday was a pretty epic day. There was Arrogant Bastard day drinking, Ethiopian food for dinner with friends, and dancing at the end of the semester party.
It was an awesome celebration of the fact that we only have one year left! This summer hold some fun adventures including plenty of event with blogger friends, a half marathon in San Diego, a trip to Boston, moving to a new apartment (hopefully), one of my best friends weddings, countless happy hours, epic meals and fun times ahead. I want to get back to blogging recipes and regular blogging (sorry for the random hiatus, finals owned my life last week).

In it to win it

Hey blog peeps! Sorry it’s been a while since I posted but as you can imagine it has been a bit of a whirlwind around here since Tuesday. Thanks for the predictions on my coffee consumption. LCCMOM has the highest guess, which I suppose is telling since I can pretty much give her credit for my addiction habit. I owe you a post about the She Run’s LA after party and I was going to do it yesterday. Let’s just say I went into yoga with a plan for the night, as I was getting into my meditation there was chanting of “USA” outside the window of the studio on the Promenade and when I emerged from yoga the world was a different place. I had intended to post but I went home and was glued to the news. She Runs LA after party post will be happening, eventually.

Saturday I took a final (I kinda rocked it, no biggie) and I’ve been spending most of my time since then studying, tempered with some nice breaks. Like today! I spent 6 hours in the library so I took a study break for a walk on the beach. This probably the best study break I’ve taken in the past 2 years. In all I covered 2.5 miles in the sand which counted as my workout today.


Another achievement? I ran 24 miles last week which is a high for me and also the first time I’ve run more miles than my age! I capped the week off with a 10 miler on Saturday and boy did my legs feel it yesterday. I also went pretty hard in yoga last night. I kinda rocked my back bend which was awesome! My body was tired today so I let myself rest up a little bit. I’ve also done a good job of not rewarding myself at Susie Cakes and/or Tavern and/or Huckleberry every day for being focused while studying. This is good for me. I can reward myself with healthy things like time on the beach, rather than the intoxicating smell of Susie Cakes.

However, the trifecta of winning really happened when I came home and made an EPIC dinner totally on the fly: Seared Salmon with Garlic, Lemon, Dill Aioli, sautéed Summer Squash, and Wheat Bulger with Scallions. Oh yes, it was epic! I promise, it was ridiculously quick and easy to make too!

I started with 1 tbsp. of EVO in a pot with ¾ cup wheat Bulger (which is like a cousin of couscous and quinoa). I put the heat on low and made sure the Bulger was coated in the oil. Then I added 1 and 1/8 cup of water, raised the heat to a boil and then reduced the heat and let it cook for 15 mins.

Next, I heated 1 tbsp of EVO in a pan with med/high heat. While it heated up I patted the salmon dry and salted and peppered each side. Then I placed the salmon in the hot pan and seared it on each side for about 3 mins, or until the inside of the salmon was light and flakey.

Once the salmon is done keep everything in the pan and sauté the summer squash for about 5 mins, until cooked through. I used two mini summer squashes which made their first appearance at the FM this week!

Check on the bulger. Once it is done cooking (it will be like couscous or quinoa) fluff and add one sliced scallion.

Finally, make the aioli. For the aioli I used a spoonful of veganaise (because I like it better than mayo, true story), squeezed lemon, chopped fresh dill and a little bit of garlic spread. I didn’t measure it out; I just eyeballed it because that’s how I roll.

For something I made totally on the fly, this was pretty tasty. I got the seared salmon and bulger idea from a random back issue of Everyday Food but I came up with the aioli on my own! This meal was very filling and I am glad I added the baby squash. It was their first week at the farmers market and they were so tiny and adorable I knew I had to buy some! The best part of this dish was that, besides being filling and healthy, it only took about 20 mins to throw together. If you start with the bulger and then do the salmon while the bulger cooks you can do it in 20 mins. Also, minimal chopping was involved with the meal.

Let’s just say that between my first final, my running mileage and this insane meal, I’m in it to win it 🙂

What are you winning right now? It’s important to recognize our achievements, right!?

Last Day of 2L Classes!

Flashback: Last Day of 1L classes. My professor sang to us and read a beautiful poem. Check it out!

Today is a beautiful day for two reasons. First, it is sunny and warm.

Second, as of around 8:30 pm tonight I will have completed my second year law school classes! Only 4 exams and some paper editing stands in the way of me being 2/3 of the way done with my law school career! I cannot believe how quickly the past few years have gone by. It seems like just yesterday I was 20, finishing up my junior year and studying diligently for the LSAT. In reality that was 3 years ago!

So many changes have taken place in my life since then. Hell, so many changes have happened since 2 years ago when I was making decisions as to where to go to Law School and graduating. I was so terrified to leave a city that I considered my “forever home” but I have never regretted my decision. If you told me two years ago what my life looks like today I wouldn’t have believed you or even wanted all of the changes. It’s not necessarily where I thought I would be at this time in my life but I love everything in my life and am so happy with where I am today. Los Angeles is my happy place, my forever home and I am so so so ridiculously blessed to be where I am. Life has turned out so much better than I could have ever planned.

So how does one celebrate the completion of another year of school (my 19th!)?

Iced non-fat sugar-free latte from Coffee Bean, obviously. So refreshing and delicious!

So now that classes are ending, what do the next few weeks hold?

  • I have 4 exams and a paper due before I’m DONE. I have a small exam Saturday, another exam the week after, and two exams and one paper due the week after. The 10th, 11th and 12th of May are going to be crazy big deadline days for me!
  • My “reading period” lasts for 9 days before my first real exam (Saturdays exam is only worth a fraction of my grade). This seems good and relaxing but it’s not as good as it seems. I need to remind myself that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. There a lot of unstructured, “work from home” time and I need to be on it with the planning. Definitely, not a vacation especially since one exam determines your entire grade for the semester and you’re judged on a forced curve against some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met.
  • I have many practice tests to take and outlines to tweak before taking my exams.
  • I have three review sessions this week (one is going to have BBQ from Crenshaw! <- insanely excited for this!)
  • She Run’s LA is on Thursday + 10k run on Thursday before She Run’s LA.
  • Plenty more running and yoga to stay in shape, don’t forget that I have a half marathon in June!
  • And when exams are over? Party, party, Irish Car Bomb, party, sleep, party! I’ll have two weeks off before starting my summer internship and I cannot wait for my time off.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging! Expect some quick eats, running recaps, countless youtube videos, and many pictures of cups of coffee!

And now for a giveaway!

We all know how addicted to Coffee Bean and Starbucks I am. Finals period this semester lasts from 4/27 – 5/12. During finals, I am going to keep a running tally (through photos) of how many caffeinated drinks I consume during that time. This will include any drink with caffeine from coffee shops or made at home which of course includes coffee, iced tea, lattes and caffeinated soda. A refill of a drink (like when I sit at Panera for 4 hours and get 5 refills of iced tea) will count as a separate drink. It’s by the number of cups, not the size (too complicated).

If you want to participate, leave a comment on this post guessing how many caffeinated drinks I will consume between 4/27 and 5/12. The person who guesses closest will win a gift card from either Coffee Bean OR Starbucks, your choice! I am funding this giveaway myself to show my loyal readers a little love. The deadline for entering is 5 pm Thursday, April 28th. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate! A winner will be announced 5/13 and I will upload the proof of the coffee I’ve consumed that day.

SO, how many drinks will I have?

Day One

Today was the first day of reading period. I have a love hate relationship with the first day of finals. Last year Izzy almost choked to death on her food. Last Spring I was worried about getting all my work done on time. I am happy to report that today was nothing but productive! This is the first time I’ve had a car during finals and I have to say, it feels really good to get out of Westwood when studying.

First I went to Panera for a bagel breakfast. Note, the reading you see is maybe half of my Critical Race Theory reading. No kidding.

Oy. Discovery of the day: Panera started listing calories! I felt good about this everything bagel at 300 calories (I also ate an apple). I was horrified by the counts though. I used to, well, binge at Panera. Is binge the right word for consuming 1500 calories? I think so.

Oh well, that’s over now. Moving on.

I was super productive at Panera. I worked diligently and didn’t even listen to music. I took minimal facebook, email, twitter breaks and didn’t watch any Youtube videos. Who am I?! I worked from 9:30 until noon.

Around noon I realized that I needed a break. I drove and parked at the Santa Monica Library and walked to Real Food Daily. The last time I went to RFD was for a blogger meet up and I knew I wanted to go back. Today was the perfect chance! I got a small plate because I had other snacks packed (like a Z Bar). I choose the BLT Tartine.

Look at that avocado! Love!

The sandwich has vegannaise which is totally better than mayonnaise, at least in my opinion. This was an excellent lunch pick me up. Next time I go to RFD I’ll make sure to say hey to Katie who gets to work there! Can you even imagine all the amazing food? Must be the best job ever.

After I ate I ambled back to the Santa Monica Library for more work. I was very, very productive. On the way home I picked this little guy up from Susie Cakes…

He was yummy. Then I went on a 4 mile run which was good but kind of cold. I need to work out a system for when its under 60 degrees and I go running.

Dinner was grilled salmon with salt, pepper, EVO, thyme and cumin (random I know). But it turned out pretty fantastic! I also had roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato fries.

Side dishes!

The sweet potatoes were left in a little too long but you know, it happens.The Salmon was DELISH and took a short amount of time to cook. I have leftovers and I cannot wait to dig into them tomorrow!

Now I am watching Glee and Biggest Loser. If Ada doesn’t make it to the final 4 I am going to go insane! Hope everyone had a productive day!

Finals: Day 1

Cookies Consumed: 1

YouTube Videos watched: 1 (thanks to vivi. It can be viewed here)

Mad Sprint to Freedom

We’re almost there!!!! Less than a week. Ugh, everything I’ve been eating lately has, sadly, not been blog worthy. But I have other announcements:

First, Happy May Day

Not only is May Day a day that raises awareness of important social issues, but it’s a major Simmons College tradition. Above you can see me with long hair my Sophomore year on the far left doing the may pole dance. The tradition involves running through the senior dorms way too early in the morning with pots and pans, waking up said seniors and then dancing around the may pole. Then we indulge in a strawberry breakfast. I loved participating sophomore year and it was great being woken up by the sophomores last year, about two weeks before graduation. May day is one of my many cherished Simmons memories. Plus, how New England woman’s college is this tradition? I love it.

Secondly, I have an urge to blog about issues again. I had a short lived blog on the Simmons College network where I talked about actual political and social issues. Maybe its the finals stir craziness, but I have an urge to write about the racist email that was sent at Harvard Law last week. BUT. I will NOT write anything until after finals are over because it would only serve to be a distraction. Yell at me to focus on my studying via blog comments if I post any sort of commentary. But check this article which I think does a good job of summing up several main issues related to the email. I’ve been appalled by the commentary on above the law and was glad to find another source of commentary.

That’s it for now. I promise to have something more interesting later.