A real white Chirstmas and figure skating skills

Posted by Lauren

On Christmas afternoon I flew to Denver to spend the weekend with Kyle and his family. Although the forecast called for snow in Denver, it was my first flight through LAX that almost delayed the trip by a day.

I just looked up the odds of a “White Christmas” online because I was curious…. turns out that there’s a 14% chance it will snow in Denver on Christmas and that the 3.4″ snowfall this Christmas was the 3rd largest amount Denver’s seen since 1882. Pretty neat!


Kyle picked me up from the airport and we drove the ~1 hour to Evergreen where his parents live. We had some late night apple/pumpkin pie and exchanged gifts before falling asleep. That ^^^ is the view we woke up to. Breathtaking!!

On the 26th we drove back into Denver and grabbed drinks at Wynkoop Brewing Company downtown. Kyle and I shared their 5 brew sampler, both agreeing that “Patty’s Chile Beer” (golden ale with anaheim and ancho chilies) was our favorite. You’ve got to try it. Seriously.



After a round at Wynkoop we walked across the street to the updated Union Station to check things out. It was still snowing!! :)


Kyle’s parents were explaining how this entire area used to be really rundown with abandoned rail yards and decrepit buildings. Ever since Wynkoop moved in (1988) the area has seen a lot of growth and redevelopment. Union Station had a slick bar (Terminal), modern food “stalls”, cute boutiques, and an ice cream/coffee place I was seriously creepin’ on.


We then walked over to Larimer Square, Denver’s oldest and most historic block (the block’s history is so interesting!). We popped in and out of the boutique shops before grabbing a table at Rio Grande for a quick bite to eat.


And by “quick bite to eat”, I also mean a delicious margarita! MMMmmmm


We said goodbye to Kyle’s parents and went over to Kyle’s high school friends’ annual get-together. Over the past few years I’ve had a few opportunities to hang out with his HS crew and they are so nice and funny! This year we had an epic game of Heads Up and Catchphrase to finish the night. Such a good time :)


And then we drove back and it was freeeeeezing. Like really. It was -1* when we reached the house!


On the 27th we went ice skating on Evergreen Lake (we = Kyle, his mom, his sister, and sister’s bf). Last year it was lightly snowing, but this year we had nothing but blue skies. Which means, you’ve got to take a selfie, am I right?


If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve seen Kyle’s ridiculous “figure skating” moves. He thinks he’s a legit pro. We all think he’s a pro at jazz hands. I’ll try to embed in WordPress but if it doesn’t work, click here to see his moves.

he’s a little rusty this year // #evergreen #colorado #iceskating @kyledozeman

A video posted by Lauren O (@laurenolerich) on



That night, we went over to Kyle’s sister’s house to hang out with the little ones. Graham is a ball of energy and Lena is growing up so fast! We played with the monster trucks, planes, and ponies… and enjoyed takeout Chinese food. It was so good to see everyone in Kyle’s family this trip! Never enough time though!


On the morning of the 28th, we packed up our stuff, grabbed a yummy breakfast from Dandelion’s Cafe in Evergreen with Kyle’s parents, and then went to the [crazybusy] airport. Such a great trip, can’t wait to go back!

Next up: NYE in Tahoe!!!


Among other things, posing in our Christmas jammies


Posted by Lauren

This holiday “season” I was lucky to spend Christmas and New Years with some of my favorite people.

Xmas Eve Eve

By far one of my favorite days of the year (AKA my half birthday that nobody cares to celebrate… why??) December 23rd is the day that Nicole, my mom, and I head up to SF for a girls trip!


This year Nicole was working late (she’s such a good worker bee) and there was insane amounts of traffic so our timelines lined up and we were able to drive to BART together. We took BART to downtown SF, walked up Powell Street, checked into the hotel, and then walked to our dinner reservation at La Mar Cebichería Peruana on the Embarcadero.


The best thing about this dinner experience was that Nicole ordered and ATE all the seafood dishes. Yup, she’s no longer a strict vegetarian and has re-introduced seafood into her diet. Thank goodness!!! (Our family loves seafood)

La Mar Cebichería Peruana

Pier 1.5, The Embarcadero, San Francisco


FRONT: causa limeña – Dungeness Crab on top of a yellow potato causa with avocado purée, quail egg, cherry tomatoes, ají amarillo huancaína sauce and basil cilantro oil. BACK: causa nikei – Tuna tartar and avocado purée, on top of rocoto potato, with creamy rocoto huancaína sauce topped with Japanese nori


cebiche la mar (aka the sampler) featuring:

  • cebiche clásico – California Halibut in a classic leche de tigre with red onion, habanero, Peruvian corn and yam
  • cebiche chifa – Yellowtail with peanuts, scallions, ginger, pickled carrots and daikon, habanero, wonton strips and cilantro in a sweet and sour sesame oil leche de tigre
  • cebiche mixto – Yellowtail, calamari and shrimp in an ají amarillo leche de tigre with cilantro, red onion, Habanero, Peruvian corn and yam
  • cebiche nikei – Tuna, red onion, Japanese Cucumber, daikon, avocado, nori, and sesame in a tamarind leche de tigre


arroz negro – Grilled calamari and shrimp with anticuchera sauce on top of squid ink arborio rice with aji panca, aji amarillo, bell peppers, choclo and parmesan, garnished with rocoto creamy chalaca

Pros: They quickly brought out plantain + sweet potato chips with a dipping sauce as soon as we sat down. The service was awesome, very attentive (but it wasn’t all that busy). THE FOOD. Wow, we loved everything. The arroz negro was a big winner because of the luxurious squid ink. The causas were unique (seafood + mashed potatoes?) but totally worked. And who doesn’t like ceviche? We would definitely come back and I’ve already recommended it to everyone I know.


We went back to the hotel and fell asleep pretty quickly. We had a full day of shopping ahead of us!

Xmas Eve

Nicole had to work on the 24th (bummer) so my mom and I went to breakfast at Sears Fine Food and saved some leftovers for her. After coffee, oatmeal, french toast, and eggs benedict, we were ready to hit the streets.


After a few hours of shopping, we went back to the hotel to check out and retrieve Nicole…. she’s so cute.


Being in the hustle & bustle of the Westin St. Francis the day before Christmas definitely gets you in the holiday spirit. This picture below seriously misrepresents the amount of people that were in and out of the hotel lobby.


Of course the minute we decide to walk back to the BART station a [torrential] downpour starts. Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but at the time we were carrying luggage AND all the presents we bought for people… with zero umbrellas. Our bags started splitting right before we reached BART, and then Nicole couldn’t find her train ticket, and then my mom got slammed by the closing BART doors…. it was quite the scene.


The bummer part of the day? We ran out of time to go to our favorite seafood spot in the Mission and pick up supplies for Christmas Cioppino. :( Don’t worry, we improvised and stopped at Cook’s Seafood & Market (Yelp) in Menlo Park, since it’s close to my apartment.


Dinner couldn’t come soon enough, I was sooooo hungry! Luckily, everyone rallied and we got food on the table fairly quickly :)


After dinner, we opened presents, put on our Xmas PJs, and cuddled on the couch. Pretty perfect Christmas Eve with our mom and David!



LOL, that photo wins Weirdest PJ Pose Award.


Nicole and I went over to our Dad and Lauretta’s house Christmas morning (as we usually do). We assembled brunch plates (this is Plate #1 of 4 I think) and then opened up our stockings/presents.


I’m pretty sure my dad was taking photos on his camera, so I didn’t snap any. Erg.

It was a quieter Christmas since Steve (step-bro) and Amy (SIL) were up in Oregon and couldn’t make it down. But still fun! After present opening, Nicole, Katie, and I walked over to Starbucks for some sister bonding time. When we got back, Lauretta had Divergent on TV so we got sucked into that before I had to jet off (literally!) to Colorado!

I was going to post everything at once, but this is getting a little long! Next up: Denver!


I made a resolution to….


Posted by Lauren

I made a resolution to…. blog once a week!

I’ll probably work on posts Sunday mornings and then schedule them for Monday. But I’m a little eager to get the first one out :) so here it is. Who knows, maybe blogging once a week will turn into twice a week?! Dare I say it.

What’s new???? (Don’t worry, I’ve definitely kept up with reading my favorite blogs and can’t pry my eyes away from GOMI).

Okay. To start off, I’m going to share some photos from the holiday season. And by holiday season, I mean Thanksgiving because clearly that was yesterday and totally timely.

We did our annual Turkey Trot thing on Thanksgiving morning. Nicole had the brilliant idea to put on fuchsia lipstick before the race. At the time, I was all about copying her. But while running I was convinced I developed a pink clown smile.



I started running with Kyle, but around mile 1.5 I realized that he was taking it a litttttle too easy for my taste. I picked up the pace (not uncomfortably fast, but enough so those endorphins would flow) and finished the race in 50:41 (8:09 min/mile). Afterwards we met near the bananas (like always!) and saw our family friends, including Sarah and Jason, below!


I don’t think we have any pictures from Thanksgiving evening, but we had a really lovely dinner with all the staples. David’s creole stuffing, mom’s sweet potato casserole, pumpkin rolls for dessert, the horrible 49ers game, and wonderful friends and family.

The next day, Kyle and I put up a Christmas tree (see below). Ha! We found a tiny tree on display at Safeway so we bought it to decorate our apartment. Note the beautiful framed poster behind our tree…. it’s our 5 euro purchase from Oktoberfest this year (turned $130 framed purchase) and I’m in love with it.


Thanksgiving weekend we went to our aunt Cori’s house for an amazing brunch. Seriously, look at those quiches! It’s always so fun to catch up with our cousins Collin and Morgan over mimosas and bacon :)


It wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving “vacation” without some time with the Po5 crew. Remember that time we were all in LA over the summer? That was awesome. Unfortunately Katie wasn’t in town (and we missed her like crazy), but it was still nice to see 3 of my 4 high school BFFs.


The #1 thing that absorbed my life since September…. FANTASY FOOTBALL.

OMG. This marks year 3 of playing fantasy football and I’m still obsessed. This year I played in the high school all girls league, the college+ all girls league, and a work league. Turns out, I probably should just stick to one league and give it my all. While my work league team sucked, the college+ league team had a big comeback Week 13. It put me into 2nd place, which I was able to keep through the playoffs. Unfortunately I ended the season in 3rd place, but I’ll take it. CANNOT wait until next year!


Oh, and Nicole and I spent Black Friday picking out matching (early) Christmas presents for each other from MK. We settled on hers & hers laptop-carrying totes.


Next up: pics from various holiday parties!

Do you play fantasy football? How did the season treat you?


The time Nicole graduated and we partied.


Posted by Lauren

My little sugar cookie finished USC a semester early (which I wrote about 180+ days ago) but the whole fam had to wait until May to officially celebrate with her. During her months off, Nicole finished dancing with the Trojan Dance Force, [remotely] interned tirelessly for one of the hottest Bay Area SaaS startups, and soaked up every second with her BFF’s. Oh, and she also wrote her last blog post ever (she claims to be done with blogging, WTF??).

Anyways, my company’s conference ended May 14th and the next day I flew to LA to join my mom, David, and Nicole. Our first order of business was walking around campus to take photos at USC landmarks. Definitely smart to do this before grad day to avoid the crowds :)




All I can remember is that we were all HUNGRY (okay maybe it was just me?) and when we went to Sugarfish downtown, they didn’t seat us for a loooong time. It’s all good because their sushi blows my socks off and is “worth the wait.” I felt bad for Nicole because they had NOTHING for vegetarians… she didn’t complain (because she’s awesome and knows I was really looking forward to it). What a sweetheart.


After dinner we went to Syrup, a hip little cafe/dessert spot a few blocks away. Nicole and I shared a banana split, but the photo only made it to my disappearing snapchat story. :( They specialize in waffles so definitely check that out the next time your sweet tooth screams at you.

Friday – Graduation Day

Nicole kept me to a strict morning alarm – 4:50 am – so I could wake up and be at her apartment with enough time to get ready and pre-party. Yes, 4:50 AM!! Nicole and I walked over to a neighbors house for mimosas around 6 am. Time flew by and soon we were walking towards campus for the ceremony kickoff….



I found a seat next to my dad and Lauretta and eagerly waited for Marc Benioff to give his speech (it was AWEsome!)



We moved over to the Galen Center for the Biz School’s breakout ceremony and got to see Nicole accept her well deserved diploma :)





Then it was all over! Time to get the party started!




Lunch in Long Beach (Yard House) with dad, Lauretta, and step-bro Steve! We battled insane traffic to get there, but it was worth it to get everyone together and catch up, especially since Steve recently moved to Portland.



A few hours later we sat down for dinner in Santa Monica with my mom, David, and Chase….

Rustic Canyon

1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA

First order of business, order wine.


Second order of business: make silly faces


The food was delicious, intriguing, and totally unique. Rustic Canyon was distinguished in Los Angeles Magazine’s issue of “L.A.’s 75 Best Restaurants” (and that mag was conveniently in our hotel room the night before when I was researching where to go!). Their head chef Jeremy Fox hails from Napa’s veg-friendly Ubuntu and focuses on California-French style. AKA the style you can’t go wrong with..


beets and berries – avocado, rancho gordo red quinoa, pistachio “soil”


ansonmills stone ground grits – ramps & morels, egg yolk, coleman’s pea shoots (PHENOMENAL)


grilled zucerman’s asparagus – whipped goat cheese with nettles, mushroom streusel (WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE MY LAWD)


clam & mussel pozole verde – ranch gordo hominy, scallion, radish, tortilla


grilled marin sun farms lamb heart – windrose farms puntarelle, bagna cauda, crispy ‘kokuho rose’ rice, parmesean (LAMB HEART!)


seared scallops – carrot puree, nasturtium, vadouvan, pine nut raisin relish (PERFECT SCALLOPS)


king troll salmon piccata – bianco di maggio onions, fiddlehead ferns, capers, meyer lemon


mom, david, me… (BTW – super tired at this point + wishing I could have changed/showered because the graduation ceremony was HOT HOT HOT and I was sweaty)


chocolate hazelnut tart with candided hazelnuts

Each dish was phenomenal – I couldn’t recommend Rustic Canyon enough. GO!

After dinner, I was dropped off at my friend Andrew’s house, where Clay and Johnny were already posted up. They were matching :) We drank some wine, went to downtown Santa Monica, ate late night pizza, and then fell asleep (finally! sleeep!)


The following day, I was in Pasadena at Lucky Baldwin’s eating tasty pasties with my mom and David. MMM MMM…. Nicole and I drove those two love birds to the airport (after a pit stop at Sugar Fix cupcakery for cupcakes and ice cream to-go!) Then we went back to Pasadena for another night out with the guys. All that survived from that entire day was this photo below. It shall remain captionless so you can capture the true essence :)


The amazing weekend capped off with a roadtrip home with my bestie (Nicole, duh!) and all of her belongings. She’s baaaaaack and here to stay! Now, who’s going to get her to start blogging with me??