Camping in Ojai

Last February Joe and I went on a weekend camping trip to Ojai. I am so excited to share some details of the trip with you guys. Ojai is one of the more relaxing and beautiful places I’ve been in a while and our trip was fantastic. I love that California is filled with fantastic vacation locations.

I’ve wanted to check out Ojai for years. Ojai is about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles in Ventura Country. All of my friends who have gone to Ojai say that it is a very calming and spiritual place. Joe and I have been talking about going camping for our entire relationship but hadn’t organized ourselves enough to go. Joe’s birthday is right after Christmas so this year I decided to surprise him with a weekend camping trip as a joint birthday/Christmas gift. On Christmas morning I gave him smores ingredients with a card that had photos of all the activities I had planned for us. I preplanned most of the trip before I gave it to Joe. I know the activities he likes and this way he could just relax and enjoy a break.

I picked a camp ground, planned out our activities and our meals. Before we drove up Friday afternoon, I went to Trader Joes and Albertsons to get the essentials (i.e.: wine, cheese, firewood). We drove up Friday afternoon and managed to beat traffic.

Dennison Park

We camped at Dennison Park outside of Ojai. I read a few yelp reviews of this campground and knew it would be perfect for us. There were only 20 campgrounds and few people staying there the same weekend as us. We were the only people when we arrived so we had our pick of spots and snagged this one with a killer view.

It was only $20 a night. Each site had a fire pit, picnic table and there were toilets and running water nearby. The camp host came by in the early evening to introduce himself. There were only two other groups camping each night and we had barely any interaction with them. The tree cover kept the site pretty private. After setting up we commenced with our favorite vacation activities: drinking wine/beer, eating and generally doing nothing.

On night one I made salmon and baked potatoes. I’ve never camp cooked before so I went simple on night one. The potatoes were just wrapped in foil and cooked over the fire. After they were soft enough I cut into them and added cheese, garlic salt and pepper. For the salmon I made a simple marinade and cooked with foil over the fire. It was so nice to relax in the fresh air, under the stars. We (mostly) turned off our phones while on this trip so we just sipped wine and enjoyed being outside.

Day 2 we ate homemade cheddar scallion scones and then explored downtown Ojai tomorrow which is very small. We walked the whole thing and got coffee. After we did a hike in Los Padres National Forest and went wine tasting.

Rose Falls, Los Padres National Forest

For hiking we went to Rose Falls in Los Padres National Forest. There are many hiking trails around Ojai. I didn’t want us to kill ourselves with anything too long or intense but I wanted to end somewhere beautiful. The hike was on the short side, maybe only a mile, but the trail ends at a waterfall. It was a bit drier than usual because of the drought. Luckily the waterfall wasn’t totally dry. I highly recommend this trail. It wasn’t too challenging but the end product was beautiful.

There was a longer trail but after the mile out, exploring around the waterfall and walking back along a small creek we were OK with not spending hours going on a much longer hike. The falls was truly beautiful. I would love to hike this trail again. While hiking we met a nice golden retriever and took photos. The falls were tall and beautiful. I wish we were able to go when the water was flowing more. We were able to stand in what should have been a water bed. Pray for rain.

Old Creek Winery

After hiking we went to Old Creek Winery. Again, I researched this winery online and liked the reviews. The winery is on a large, open ranch. There were dogs running around and the vibe was very laid back and relaxed. There was an outside sitting area and a building where they do the wine tasting. For $10 we got 10 pours.

Great policy!

The verdict? We loved it! I highly recommend Old Creek. Joe and I were keeping tabs on which wines we liked and I think were starred about 6 bottles which is way more than usual for us. Usually when we got wine tasting one or two bottles are good enough to want to buy but at Old Creek there were several we absolutely loved. I even liked the Rose which I am not typically into. The women who poured for us was so nice and personable. Overall, we loved Old Creek and will be making return trips.

California, I love you.

After the winery we went back to the camp ground to eat more wine and snacks. Saturday night dinner was campfire pizza which I burned. Still need to work on some of my campfire cooking skills.

Sunday we drove back to LA through Ventura where we grabbed a delicious diner breakfast.

We really loved escaping for a weekend to Ojai and camping. Joe and I both love camping and are OK with going for 2 days without a shower so I think there will be a lot more camping in our future. I highly recommend all the places we went to in Ojai. I could not have imagined a more relaxing vacation and I really hope we are able to camp out again soon. As far as budgeting goes, I managed to cash out my tips from work and that paid for almost the entire trip. Campsites are cheaper than hotels and I loved being outside and seeing all the stars at night. Even though we went in February it wasn’t too cold and luckily there wasn’t rain while we were camping (unlike the time I camped in a tornado rainstorm with my dad as a small child). We came back to LA recharged, relaxed and with more wine than we left with. I’d say that it was an excellent vacation.

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Another Frisco Trip

Two weeks ago Joe and I headed up to San Fran for another trip to the Bay. This was my 5th time to San Francisco. Every time I go I fall more in love with the city.

This trip was based around our tickets to the 49ers vs. Packers game on Sunday but we decided to extend our trip to be Thursday until Monday. I was super happy about that because it meant I got to spend more time with Chrissy (one of my favorite law school people ever) and got to spend time with my cousin Mary who I haven’t seen in nearly 1 year.

Chrissy and I during 1L when we were young, innocent, and I experimented with bangs. #NeverAgain

We drove up on Thursday arriving in time to catch the Broncos vs. Ravens game (booo Ravens) at a bar. The bar was quiet and full of what seem to be mostly regulars. I love how Lagunitas is on tap at almost every bar in SF.

We also sat next to a very drunk man who told my boyfriend that he is blessed because he has a girl friend who loves football. Obviously, I will never let him forget it.

Thursday night we eventually got to Chrissy’s apartment which is really like a very nice hotel. There is a hot tub and a pool which needed to be taken advantage of. We also spent plenty of time with Penny. Penny is adorable but secretly a mischievous demon destroyer who kept putting the moves on Joe.

Penny snuggles with everyone.

Friday we went on a run and then headed over to Berkeley to see Mary. She took us to Sliver Pizza which was an amazing choice. They only have one pizza available per day. On that day the pizza was Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Fresh Corn, Mozzarella, Bulgarian Feta Cheese, Mexican Key Limes, Cilantro Garlic Olive Oil. I also had an IPA.

Feast your eyes.

The pizza was amazing. I know that Cheeseboard corners the good pizza market in Berkeley but this was damn good. I loved the potatoes and sweet corn but the hint of cilantro stole my heart. After we walked around Berkeley with my cousin and got some delicious ice cream because it was vacation.

Saturday’s major food highlights included a trip to the farmers market at the Ferry Building where I was reunited with my favorite blue bottle coffee.

 

While I waited in line at Blue Bottle Joe went over to Strauss Creamery for milkshakes. We each got our own because I cannot control myself and I would have drank the entire milk shake before he had a sip otherwise.

Saturday was hot and we spent the entire day at Chrissy’s rooftop pool.

For dinner the girls went to a small hole in the wall Italian restaurant called Café Sport. I loved the vibe of the restaurant. There were things hung on every inch of the wall which made the booths feel very private.

I don’t remember exactly what we had. I do know we ate a ton of garlic bread, pasta with beef sauce and ravioli.

After we saw Moonrise Kingdom in the park and then crashed after watching numerous episodes of revenge. Party animals.

The highlight of the weekend was Sunday and the Packers vs. 49ers game. I have a deep dislike of the Packers as a native Chicagoan and was very excited to be at the 49ers season opener. We tailgated with burgers and beer in the parking lot before the game.

The game was exciting, probably the most exciting NFL game I’ve been to. The game moved quickly and it was close until the end.

It was great to go to a game where every down felt like it was do or die. The game was very loaded for the Packers because we knocked them out of the playoffs last year and they came to play. The 9ers ended up prevailing and a fun time was had by all.

Fun Fact: an elderly grandmother Packers fan flipped off one of the members of our group at one point. Oh, Green Bay.

We headed back Monday. I love San Francisco. San Fran is probably the only place I would consider moving outside of LA and I was so happy to explore it with Joe and spend quality time with Chrissy. I always eat well there and I am so excited to go back.

I have my marathon in Long Beach in 5 days. I am planning on posting before then. Don’t worry everyone who gave me a hard time for not blogging enough over the weekend 🙂

Russian River Brewery and other highlights from Santa Rosa

Almost a month ago I made my second trip up to Sonoma Country. Better late to blogging about it than never blogging about it, right?

You might remember that I went to Sonoma for the first time last summer. I loved the time I spent there and have wanted to go back since. Last month I had my anniversary with my boyfriend and to celebrate we decided to take a trip with north to drink beer, taste wine and eat. These are our three of our favorite activities so we’re perfect for each other.

We drove up on Friday with the one goal of getting to Russian River Brewery before happy hour ended at 6:30. We were successful and made it in plenty of time!

I’ve wanted to go to Russian River for a very long time. I’ve been a Pliny lover for years and I wanted to try new beer as well. Going to this brewery was on the top of my agenda and let’s be honest, what guy is going to protest his girlfriend dragging him to a brewery? No guy I’d be interested in. The happy hour is an amazing deal: almost all the beers are only $3.75 a pint! That alone, on top of the amazing quality of the brews, was enough to get us in the door.

Round 1 was Pliny the Elder. I also tried Little White Lie before finishing off with another Pliny.

Side note: I got highlights! Do you like?

We ordered beer bites as well. I believe we had the Drew beer bites (with pepperoni and pepperoncini’s) and the Pliny beer bites (with white cheddar and jalapenos). Beer bites are essentially pizza cut into little bite sized pieces. Perfection!

Between the three rounds of beer and the beer bites I was stuffed! Love when I get to eat a dinner that is 90% gluten.

The next day we continued our trip with wine tasting. We mostly kept it local to Santa Rosa. We loved the Paradise Ridge winery. Check out how beautiful the property is…

Everyone we encountered there was so nice and lovely. They gave us a number of recommendations of places to go throughout the rest of the day which was very kind of them. We surprised ourselves and did something uncharacteristic, buying a bottle of sav blanc!

We went to a total of 5 wineries throughout the day. Our other favorite winery was Hook and Ladder. The pours were generous, flavorful (not too sweet, except for the port, obviously) and free of charge. The people taking care of us was really nice, chatty, and laid back. We ended up buying a bottle of the Pinot Noir at Hook and Ladder which I cannot wait to open.

I was pretty relaxed all vacation. How could you not be with all this beautiful scenery?

On the way back to LA we stopped off for mango drinks (which were thick, creamy and delicious. If I could have this for breakfast every day I would!)…

San Francisco

And Tartine, because I cannot enter the city without stopping for a morning bun and a hello to law school bestie, Chrissy.

Road trip fuel.

Overall, it was a very relaxing vacation. Next time I go I really want to hit up the Bear Republic brewery and Lagunitas! Any other suggestions?

Let Freedom Ring.

The rumors are true: I survived the California Bar exam and am now a free woman!

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At the Getty.

I have so much to say about the bar exam. I plan to sit down, reflect and write something thoughtful and potentially useful. However in the meantime I will say this: easily the most challenging thing I have ever done. I would gladly run another marathon before I would retake the California Bar Exam. Three days, 6 hours a day is a long time to be thinking intensely about the law. I think I broke my brain last week. Despite this I stayed calm, cool and collected. There were no tears, meltdowns or panic attacks. Having my mom here helped a lot. I could have probably done it without her but it would have been much more painful.

Overall, I am very happy the exam is over and I am beyond ready to start the next chapter in my life.

Immediately following the exam I got martinis with mom. She bankrolled several rounds of drink and onion rings at Tavern. Random people in the bar were congratulating me. It was amazing. After not eating all day (or really, much all week) and my tolerance of alcohol gone to nothing the past two months three martinis put me more or less under the table and I was in bed sleeping by 10:30 pm like a Grandma.

For my first day of freedom I decided that I wanted brunch at Clementine…

Followed by shopping in Santa Monica. I haven’t blogged about it but due to some combination of stress, yoga, and just eating less I have managed to lose a pant size and two shirt sizes since graduation. I’m not sure if the reduction in stress will lead to weight gain but in the meantime I was in dire need of clothing that actually fits. I got new jeans, a belt and a bikini plus some smaller shirts. I like wearing pants that aren’t baggy.

Then we hit the Getty. I’ve been dying to check out their special exhibit on Herb Ritts.

I’ve loved Ritts’ work for years. I remember first seeing his photos in my Mom’s Vanity Fair Hollywood coffee table book when I was young. When I was 13 I started to read Vogue and Vanity Fair. Many of Ritts’ photos have appeared in both magazines.

The exhibit was mostly made up of celebrity portraits, fashion photography, nudes and some of his commercial work. Lots of the photos were in black and white and are iconic.

I really love this one:

 

 

 

 

 

 

and this one:

Everything is so luxe and glamorous. I want to live in that world. The exhibit is around until August 26th so check it out while you still can.

After we strolled the gardens, had a fantastic dinner at Tavern (twice in two days!) and then I went out with friends.

Being done with the bar didn’t really hit me fully until yesterday when I was enjoying my day off without guilt that I should be doing something else. Next week is going to be all about cooking, the farmers market, yoga and catching up with all my classmates. Cannot wait.

Thanks for all the comments, texts, tweets, and facebook posts. It really kept me going over the days of the exam. Ya’ll are the best!  

Getting Ready for San Diego

For the first time in my life I’m packing more socks for a trip than I am shoes. I have more “things” than I have tops and bottoms. I’m packing snacks. OK, so I always pack snacks. That isn’t so different but I am packing some serious Gu.

Seriously, how do I know which pair of running socks I’m going to want on Sunday? Clearly they all need to make the trip. I’m still working on my playlist for the race and I will post it in my recap. I also am packing copious amounts of body glide because chafing is bad.

LCCDad arrived today and I met up with him after work for cocktails poolside at the W and an amazing dinner at Pecorino in Brentwood. Oh my goodness it was good. I had a grilled eggplant appetizer, pappadelle with fava beans and pesto for an entrée (the same that I had over spring break) and pear gratin for dessert. It was fantastic! Didn’t blog because I was catching up with my Dad and didn’t want to feel like I was working (plus I have an insane blog backlog right now).

LCCDad brought me a little something which I know LCCMom had a hand in picking out…

A running hat and a running watch! Pretty much the best gift ever. I need the hat to keep the sun off my face while running. The California sun is hot and this hat will prevent sunburn and wick sweat. I have never run with any kind of watch and I don’t plan to wear it for the half. Running with something new seems like asking for painful chafing but I will need this for marathon training. The watch is small and it will be nice to finally be able to track my runs. You can also see my packing list, which has pretty much every possible item I could even possibly need to run. Running takes so much more than just clothing and shoes.

Tomorrow morning I head out with my Dad for the drive south. We will probably meander down the coast, drop in at the expo and then pool hang in the afternoon. We’re staying at the Coronado which should be beautiful! I can’t believe I’m running another half marathon in 48 hours. Can’t wait to share the experience with all of you!

In the meantime, if you want to read about my training and race goals, click here!