Monthly Archives: May 2013

Kate Kelly & Chris do Cali!

It seems like so long ago that the gang was here, but really it’s only been a week! We had an awesome time while they were here. I think (and hope) that they had a great time while they were here! California (especially LA) is full of things to see and do. So we were constantly doing stuff while they were here. On the Wednesday they got here Alex and I picked them up at the airport around 12. To my surprise, Amy was with them! She planned a trip to see her aunt who also lives in California, then made her way to me for a night, then headed a little further south to San Diego to spend some time with her brother. It worked out perfectly, and I was so excited to see her! I almost cried!

We headed back to my house and had a few beers. I gave them the grand tour of the house and we caught up a bit. Soon after we headed to Hermosa Pier to get some margaritas and tacos! After lunch we headed over to Baja Sharkeez which is a bar that is always crazy no matter the day or time! We had lots of happy hour special drinks and jell-o shots from a syringe. We were having a blast. We had too much fun making vines and drinking to take any pics, woops!

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Kate & Kelly’s first time on west coast beach!

We headed back to my place to get ready for the night. We were dragging from our daytime drinking adventures but I forced everyone awake to head to Main Street in Santa Monica. Unfortunately, we weren’t there too long because I got a little too tipsy! (I guess those drinks from earlier caught up to me.)

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Before our night out

On Friday, Amy had to make her way to the train station and head down to SD. We spent the first half of the day trying to figure out the best way to get her there. We sadly said our goodbyes and sent her on a sketchy bus. (but she made it!) Kate, Kelly, Chris and I went to brunch at a little place in Redondo Beach then spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach. 20130529-000911.jpg

 

That night we went out in Hermosa Beach. We went to this place ironically called underground, when you have to walk up stairs to get there. I always find myself coming back to this place. It’s kinda low key, but they have a dance area and they also have pool and shuffle board. I like the options!

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On Satuday we hosted a beer Olympics at Tom and Alex’s house. It was pretty fun but I was organizing it for the most part and it was actually a little bit stressful. It didn’t help that the people there weren’t that interested in the beer olympics but just wanted to day drink. We decided when you host an event like this, everyone has to be on board with the games/event. Us Maryland kids were all about. I hope to plan a Beer Olympics back in MD because I think we will be able to get more people that actually want to be involved, which makes it way more fun!

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Team MD!

 

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We ended up staying the night at Alex’s on Saturday so Sunday we could show them the sites of Santa Monica. We started off at my favorite place, the farmers market and grabbed some lunch. Then we headed to the Santa Monica Pier. It was packed! But we got to take a ride on the Ferris wheel. You can see so much from the top and it was such a beautiful day!20130529-001009.jpg

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After the pier we headed to venice boardwalk. I thought for sure they would hate it there (cause Alex and I aren’t too fond) but we had a blast. It is truely the best people watching that can ever be done. I haven’t been that many places in the U.S. but I’d say it’s the #1 People watching capital in the States. We had a lot of laughs. We had to stop at the Ale House and get some mojitos in mason jars, YUM! It was a long day in the sun and I got wayy sun burnt. We just chilled at my house that night and had some leftovers from a few nights before. It was much needed because we’d been going since they got here.

We woke up early on Monday to see a bit of Hollywood. First we hiked to the top of the Hollywood sign. It’s always a harder hike than I remember it to me. I’m not really in shape and it always makes me sweat!

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Next, we headed to Hollywood BLVD. I tried to be the best tour guide I could. I told them everything I remembered from my official tour of Hollywood and googled a bunch of other stuff to add some other facts. We saw the Chinese theatre, dolbe theatre and of course the stars on the Hollywood walk of fame. I also drove them through Beverly hills to see some of the houses. We drove on rodeo drive but didn’t get out, let’s be serious.. we can’t afford any of those stores! After the the tour of Hollywood/Beverly Hills we headed home to get ready for a farewell dinner. We went to a place in Manhattan beach for an awesome seafood dinner. We were seriously stuffed to the brim! Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pics that night.

On their last day, we went to Disneyland! There are 2 parks: Disney and California Adventureland. We got a 1 day park hopper pass and spent 1/2 day in each place. You can definitely do a day at both, especially if it’s your first time and you don’t know where you’re going (like us.) But, all in all I think we hit the highlights of both parks. Unfortunately, Alex could only go for half the day. We went to Disney first and it was the wrong choice. California Adventureland was more fun with more adult type rides and I was really sad he missed out on that. AND you can drink there (that’s when you know it’s the better park!) I promised we would go back, because I really want him to experience that. AND we can cross Disney off of our bucket-list of things to do together. (this is a much cheaper way to do Disney.) It really doesn’t compare to Disney World though. Disney world is much bigger with way more parks and attractions to see. I definitely think we  should go there together, but it is pushed to the bottom of the list at this point.

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It was a great way to spend our last day together, at the happiest place on earth! We have grown up going to theme parks with our family, so it is something we LOVE to do together. I had so much fun having them in CA and I was very sad when they left. It definitely wasn’t a relaxing vacation for them but it was full of laughs, memories and adventures that I’m sure none of us will forget!

I have said it many times, but I will say it again, I am SO beyond grateful to call my cousins my BEST friends. I am so lucky to have them in my life! It means the world to me that they took this trip to come visit me in California. I love you guys!!

 

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First smoothie

So.. I told you I bought kale at the farmers market in hopes of making my first green smoothie (or first smoothie ever)! I was trying to recreate the “tropikale” smoothie from a place called Robeks out here. It calls for papaya, pineapple, kale and sherbert. I wanted to make mine a little healthier so I switched up the ingredients. I never had papaya before. I got to learn how to handle a new fruit. I don’t like it very much on it’s own, but it’s great in the smoothie! After trying it, I came to the realization that I really only like sour fruit. For instance, I prefer my bananas green, and I prefer apples that are yellow, pink or green over red. The papaya was just a little too sweet with no sour at all.20130525-084901.jpg

The smoothie turned out great! It tasted almost exactly like tropikale. My first one was a little too chunky, but I’ve made a few more since and just a couple more minutes in the blender gives you the perfect consistency. The best part is that even Alex liked it!20130525-084918.jpg

 

If you wanna recreate the smoothie it’s really easy, this is a rough recipe:

3-4 ice cubes

1/2 cup papaya

1/2 cup pineapple

1/2 container chobani greek yogurt

handful of kale

2 table spoons flax seeds

splash of almond milk

throw it all in the blender until desired consistency!

 

In other news, I’ve been struggling to decide what to do for my next travel RN assignment. I love Baltimore/Ocean City/Maryland in the summer so I’m kind of bummed about being here. I just feel like I can do most of the same stuff at home during summer that I can do here, except I’d get to have all my family and friends around. I’ve been torn and it’s been a bit emotional. I also have to go where I can get a job. That is the stressful thing about travel nursing, don’t know where your job will be til about 3-4 weeks ahead of time. AHH!! Anyway, I’ve been thinking hard and talking it over with some people and praying and also hoping for SOME kind of sign. Last night when I did a bad thing and ate a large panda express meal, this was the fortune in my cookie..

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(I’m taking the ‘next summer’ as meaning summer 2013) and I think it kind of gave me my answer. I can do OC/MD anytime, and it’s been done MANY summers before. I need to try something different this summer.. so I am now leaning more towards a Cali summer. Gotta see what job I can get. Everything is always up in the air!

I am so sad Kate, Kelly and Chris are gone.. we had a blast! I will update later but didn’t have time this morning and don’t have enough pictures yet!

Heading to San Diego for Memorial Day weekend with my sorority sisters after I sleep and I CAN’T WAIT! I will have a few posts next week. I hope everyone has an awesome weekend! (Don’t worry MD, the weather’s not supposed to be that great this weekend here either!)

OH YEA.. fun fact, this exact day last year I called Alex Dunstan for a night of drinking in OCMD. Now look where we are! Best phone call I ever made!! 🙂

Life Lately

Everyone I know has been trying to save a little bit of money around here so my weekend off wasn’t THAT exciting. But, I thought I would give you a few updates anyhow. Friday night I cooked Alex dinner (which is one of my favorite past times here.) I made my first homemade marinara sauce!! It was so good and I still can’t get enough of the leftovers. I based my recipe off the pioneer woman’s marinara but added a bunch of veggies and some ground turkey. On that note, I’ll probably never use ground beef in marinara sauce again. Alex had work that night so I just hung in with his roommates, Kat and Rachel. I was exhausted from work the night before so it was an early night for me.

On Saturday, I picked up a little odd job delivering flowers! Tom and Alex work for this company and they needed extra drivers for mothers day. Yay..$$$!! After I got off, Rachel and I went to lunch in Venice and walked around to all the little boutiques.  Some of them were pretty expensive and I Just can’t justify spending a lot of money on clothes! We went to lunch at this awesome place called lemonade. They have a ton of different salads which were awesome! My meal consisted of 3 sides of veggies/salads and a small serving of meat. Just the way I like it! At night we went out in Santa Monica for a drink to meet my friend Stacey, she is such a blast and I am so glad I finally got to hang out with her. She’s from Baltimore too! 🙂

Sunday we headed to the farmers market. I got some zucchini which is my new favorite vegetable and kale to make some green smoothies! Haven’t made a smoothie yet, I will have to let you know how that turns out. I LOVE the farmers market! I can’t wait to go back and buy some granola I saw but didn’t buy for some odd reason. I know I have to get it, cause I haven’t stopped thinking about it since we left! They also had delicious food for lunch and we all got something to eat.

It was a nice laid back weekend, I haven’t had a weekend here that I didn’t go out. My body and my bank account really appreciated it!

Other things on my mind:

I gave my job a bad reputation. I am actually quite lucky to work with such awesome people, work for a hospital that treats their travel nurses so well and I am able to make my schedule pretty much any way I want. The patient’s aren’t THAT terrible. But I do have my good and bad nights. Overall, I do really love this travel assignment! (in terms of work)

I am moving out of my house! Don’t ask me what I am going to do when I come back in July cause that is still to be determined. I just decided that I can’t commit to a place to live like this. I have the luxury of only working for 3 months at a time, so if I want to come home between assignments, I can. Unfortunately if I continue living here, I need to pay rent when I am home between assignments and I really can’t afford that.

Speaking of coming home, most of you know that I will be coming home on June 20th!! (I cannot wait. me=homesick) From the 21-30 I will be on a cruise. Speaking of the cruise, it is only about a month away and I am super pumped!! We always have the best time on those things! Anyway, let’s make plans for July 1st-July 19th. I am already starting to pick dates to get together with people so let me know what you want to do and what date! Also, anyone doing anything awesome for 4th of July?!

YES, I am moving back to California after that short break. I hope to start my next assignment on July 22, but that is still in the works. So all you people who said you want to come visit but didn’t (which is pretty much everyone.) You have another short period of time to visit me, so you better make it happen! The sooner I know the dates, the better because I can make my schedule to have off when you are here. And that will probably be my last assignment here so you should really try to make it happen. Do you really wanna have regrets in life??! Don’t pass up the chance to visit California and stay somewhere for free!

Speaking of visitors.. my best friends and cousins KATE & KELLY and Kate’s bf Chris are getting here on Thursday!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 BEYOND EXCITED!!!! I’ve mapped out a small agenda but they are just ready to have a good time so I am sure it will be a great time whatever we do!

Last thing I am excited about.. I am going to have a guest post on my friend Kait’s blog! I will post the link on my facebook so you all can see it! 🙂

I am super duper happy this week and I don’t think anything can change my mood! I hope everyone has a good rest of the week! 🙂

Cinco de mayo weekend

I was pumped to have off for Cinco De Mayo weekend! In Baltimore, it seemed like I was always working on the fun days/weekends. I have been SO SO lucky with my schedule at this hospital, that alone should make me LOVE this job!

I worked Friday night, so we started a day early cinco celebration around 2:00 on Saturday. Tom was responsible for the drinks and I made tacos for everyone. Also, I had been wanting to try Bud Light Lime’s new ‘Strawberita’ (pictured below) so I picked a 12 pack up.. I was definitely disappointed  Buttt I drank it anyway (can’t be wasteful.) The limerita is pretty good, but I’ll just stick to a BLL or a margarita in the future.

So me and a bunch of friends (sarcasm) sipped some margaritas poolside. It was a relaxing afternoon and I definitely got my buzz on.

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Alex had to leave us and go to work! 😦 I hate when work gets in the way of fun plans. But we stopped at a friends house in Manhattan beach and had a few drinks before heading home to Santa Monica. Actually, where we stopped is Alex’s new house! Did I tell you he is moving?! He will now live about 10 minutes away from me, 2 beach towns away. I’m sad they are leaving Santa Monica but excited he will be so close!

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After some down time at Tom & Alex’s house, we made our way out on Main Street in Santa Monica, one of my favorite places to go out! (another reason I will miss Alex living here.) We hit a few new bars I’d never been to and it was a good Saturday night.

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Alex got off at a decent hour and was able to meet us out! WOO!20130513-160400.jpg

 

Necessary hydration on Cinco De Mayo after 12 hours of drinking on Saturday..

 

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We celebrated Cinco De Mayo a day early because we had BIG plans on Sunday the 5th.. We went to the O’s game!! First game of the season for both of us. It was like Christmas morning!! I was so happy and could not stop smiling all day. The Angels stadium was so awesome! They had tons of food and drink venues which were all very modern. The fans were pretty decent too, only playful harassment. We actually ended up sitting next to another Orioles fan who was from MD, so we had a little fan base in our corner. I was surprised at the number of Oriole fans there. A bunch of people had Angels shirts and Orioles hats on. I really like exploring new baseball stadiums, I think it could be a new thing to do when I travel!

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Alex was kind enough to let me borrow one of his O’s hats. It definitely came in handy considering we were running late and I didn’t even brush my hair that morning, woops!20130513-160421.jpg

 

We sat right next to the bullpen which was pretty sweet. Every time we got a home run  I noticed they all did a special clap/handshake thing. Also, I got to chat with Tommy Hunter a bit. He was hilarious! Pretty sarcastic and talking to a lot of people in the crowd. 20130513-160429.jpg

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The stadium was empty! I’ve heard and notice that Californians are not good fans/aren’t big into their sports team. An UNHEARD of idea when you’re from BIRDland. I couldn’t imagine not being a sports fan! How boring?!

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This was our view from the field.. pretty good for 19$!

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We enjoyed beers. peanuts and indulged in some stadium food. We’ve been trying to eat healthy so it was definitely our treat for the week. Just typing about being there is making me so happy again! It was such an awesome day, made better by the WIN! I love living here but I am definitely a Baltimore girl and love my teams through and through.

Ranchos palos verdes

Last week, Alex’s best friend’s parents were in SoCal! They were staying in a town close to where I live called Palos Verdes. Their resort was called Ranchos Palos Verdes, which btw means green sticks ranch. Just a fun fact! So on Thursday we were able to take a drive about 15 miles south and spend the day with them.

All the locals I’ve met told me that Palos Verdes (PV) is so beautiful! They also said the resort is unbelievable so I couldn’t wait to check it all out. What everyone said was true! When we got to PV, it felt like we weren’t even in California anymore. The water was clear blue and the wildlife was amazing. They saw whales right outside their hotel room everyday! And the dolphins were plentiful.

We started off the day with a small hike. (It was more just walking along a path and enjoying the views.) There was one challenging hill and for some reason we decided to run up it. I am OUT OF SHAPE. We spent a few hours checking out the grounds and the views then headed to one of the restaurants for lunch. We got the BEST pina colada of our lives there! And Alex and i each had an awesome swordfish sandwich. We spent the rest of the day sunbathing and having a few drinks around the pool. It was a fun and relaxing day. I love discovering new towns in my area. And of course it was nice to have a taste of home in LA. It was like hanging with our parents for the day! Alex and I had an awesome day and were sad to say goodbye, but we were grateful for the day we had.

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Miss Cathy and Alex exploring a cave

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view from Miss Cathy and Mr Ron’s hotel room

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view from the pool

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poolside nap

San Diego zoo!!

While in San Diego I knew we either had to go to Sea World or the Zoo. We opted for the zoo, mostly because it was cheaper! I think it was an excellent choice. On the morning of, we almost didn’t go. I was sick and a little hung over, not to mention tired after ‘sleeping’ on an air mattress for 2 nights. BUT, I said to myself ‘YOLO!’ and got up and got dressed. I knew we HAD to go and all day we kept saying to each other how glad we were that we came. Tom and Dave weren’t really feeling the zoo so it was just Alex and I for the day! We were wondering what was so special about the San Diego zoo, because everyone always talks about it. After going, I think it’s because of how big it is and how many animals there are! It’s a real workout to just walk around that place. I haven’t been to the zoo since 1st grade(ish) so really anything would have impressed me! If you haven’t been to the SD zoo, don’t worry, you’ll feel like you’ve been after seeing all my pics!

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Alex being the funny kid, of course.

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Possibly my favorite pic of the day..

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Alex’s favorite, the rhino

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When we saw the peacock the first time around, this is how he looked..20130504-081304.jpg

We were lucky to walk by again and see him look like this..

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The guy working the panda exhibit said the pandas are usually quite shy, like this little furball.

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One cage over: We watched this guy literally strut from the back of the cage to the closest branch in the front. After he made it as close to the humans as possible, he put his arm on the branch, next he rested his head on his arm then finally put his leg up on the trunk. It was hilarious! He stayed this way until we left (and probably longer.) This guy loved the attention! If my words didn’t describe it well enough, please enjoy images below..

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Although I got a kick out of the panda, my favorite animal were the elephants! That guy on the right danced the entire time we were at the exhibit. He must have had a song stuck in his head cause he didn’t stop. Just swaying his head and body back and forth. It was the cutest thing ever!! I can’t wait to see an elephant dance again!20130504-081408.jpg

 

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We had such an awesome day at the zoo! In California I have really pushed myself to do things that I normally wouldn’t do. And when I’m in a situation contemplating whether I should do something or not, I always make myself DO IT and never regret it. The saying is true people, and I’m still LOVING it.. YOLO!! (You Only Live Once.) So get out there and do what you want to do, don’t put it off AND always have fun! 🙂

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I’m gonna catch some zzz’s before I get my weekend started. I have a fun one planned!!

 

1st thing off the bucket list

While Dave was here, we were doing stuff pretty much every day. We were pretty busy last week! I’ve been sucking at updating this thing, and it reminds me a lot of my journal. I will be really into it for a little while then I will stop updating as frequently. I am slapping myself on the wrist and promissing to make a better effort at updating AT LEAST once a week.

So I will now catch you up on last week. We were lucky enough to take a trip down to San Diego. Tom has a friend who lives there, in Ocean Beach, who was so hospitable! She let us stay with her for 3 days! We got there and when straight to the bar, naturally. It was a two floor place right on the beach. We sat upstairs and the view was awesome! The weather could have been better but it was still pretty sweet. After dinner and some drinks we went to another bar and played some pool. After that we headed to karaoke night at another bar. Alex killed it rapping ice ice baby. If I knew how to include videos, I would totally post it here, but I don’t. Soo.. sorry ya missed it! After that we headed back to Tracey’s and called it a night. (for some reason I didn’t take any pictures the first night.)

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At the burger joint

The second day was jam packed. We hit up a few different towns in SD. First we went to a really nice place called Coronado. It was over a bridge next to downtown San Diego. We had lunch and awesome margaritas at a burger joint. The burgers were so good! Alex had a breakfast burger that had egg, hashbrowns and bacon on it! Mine was fairly simple.. mushroom and onion. We pretty much just walked around and explored the island. The beach and views were so nice!

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Downtown San Diego

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3 best friends that anyone could have

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View from the rooftop bar

Next we headed to mission beach. I LOVED it! It reminded me of my beloved Ocean City! The boardwalk and beach were so nice. There was this awesome bar at the end of the boardwalk. It had two of those wave machines and a few bars to get drinks. Dave contemplated doing the wave machine but, in the end decided against it. Next we went into a little place called the Sandbar (of course we HAD to go, feeling nostalgic about OCMD.) We wanted to see as much as we could so after that bar we headed to pacific beach. We went to this amazing rooftop bar. The views were awesome! I didn’t want to leave. The boys were excited cause they had ping pong, they played while Tracey and I soaked up the sun while sipping our drinks.

On our last day Alex and I went to the San Diego Zoo! Such a great choice. But that will be another post cause I have so many pictures! Happy friday! I hope you have a great weekend!!

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Alex and me at the rooftop bar!