Partytime

Chocolate cake, my new haircut, and sweet potato ice cream

Posted by Lauren

Another day, another post… It’s got me feeling all like:

Monday. Coffee. First thing I do when I get in the office.

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You know what else happens on Monday? #PrinceFarming hahaha…. this season of The Bachelor is so ridiculous already. But it’s a great excuse to get together with Sarah and Cindy (and Mike and Mark) for dinner, dessert, and laughs. Cindy tempted us with a picture of this chocolate cake earlier in the day and I could not WAIT to dig in.

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For dinner we had slow-cooker braised short ribs with noodles and biscuits. I’ll admit I went back for seconds, it was unreal.

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After dinner we watched the college football championship game and skipped the Bachelor. JUST KIDDING! (btw, go Buckeyes) The tractor race in bikinis? You’ve got to be kidding me. And keeping Miss Crazy Pants? Ugh.

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Nothing interesting happened on Tuesday, but on Wednesday I met up with Nicole after work to go get our hair done! We drove to the neighborhood we grew up in and had the fabulous Kalee make us pretty again. Nicole and Kalee were BFFs in 2nd grade and when we reconnected on Facebook we saw all of her awesome hair magic.

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We both cut our hair shorter (#twinning) ….I lost about 10 inches at the longest point. I’m loving the change!

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Thursday morning I woke up suuuuper early (at my mom’s) and carpooled with Nicole to Redwood Shores and then drove the rest of the way to San Francisco for our team’s offsite. You know what’s fun? Parking in the Tenderloin. And then finding the nearest [hipster] coffee shop (Machine Coffee) to get a red eye and blueberry scone.

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We spent all day in this cool coworking space run by wework. I love it when our whole team gets together! :)

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After dinner we walked a few blocks to Farmer Brown for drinks and apps. I ordered their grand gimlet ($11) – blue coat gin, lime, pavan muscat liqueur, muddled sage & celery. WOW… this is a drink I want Katie to try. We shared their fried pickles, sweet potato fries, shrimp & okra hush puppies, and pork sliders. Everything I tried was great and I’ll definitely remember this spot next time I’m near Union Square/Market and looking for a “cool” spot. (Katie, it’s across the street from Mikkeller Bar!)

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Friday I worked late and then had no motivation to work out once I got home. Pretty sure I fell asleep early. After a 9:30 am bar method class on Saturday, I treated myself to Philz Coffee. I wish they had a rewards program so that I could rationalize choosing Philz over Starbucks (damn you and your gold star rewards).

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I spent all day watching the Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce episodes stock piled on the DVR. That show is actually really good! Later that night, Kyle made us a healthy dinner of panko-crusted baked chicken with brussels sprouts and leftover quinoa/beans. I was about to go out and celebrate a coworker’s birthday so a solid dinner was necessary.

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Milad’s birthday celebration in Mountain View was fun!!! I love this little Gainster crew. Full details made it to my snap story, but not the blog ;)

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Ah, Sunday. First a L2 bar method class (semi painful due to lasting effects from said night out), then starbucks (per usual) for coffee + spinach egg wrap, then football watching (damn you, seahawks), then a nice tandem bike ride for ice cream. :)

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Tin Pot Creamery is in the same shopping center as bar method. Every time I go to a night class I have to hold back from getting 10 scoops of everything. It’s not the cheapest craft ice cream shop in the neighborhood if you know what I’m saying. But their flavors are unique and delicious.

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I got a scoop of purple sweet potato with cinnamallows and a scoop of peanut butter fudge brownie. Yum!!

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After eating pulled pork for dinner I worked up enough motivation to do my “long” run of the week (only 6 mi since it’s week 2 of the plan). Speaking of … here’s my recap from this week’s workoutzzz

Day: {{Week 2 Hal’s 1/2 plan}} >> {{actual}}
Monday: strength >> bar method
Tuesday: short run >> 3 miles @ home 8:15 pace
Wednesday: 30 min tempo run >> 10 min @ 9:05 pace, 15 min working up to 7:35 pace, 5 min @ 8:15 pace
Thursday: strength + run >> NOPE. I blame the SF offsite.
Friday: rest >> bar method
Saturday: pace run >> bar method + 3 mile run at half marathon pace (7:50 pace)
Sunday: long run >> bar method + 6 mile run (8:44 pace)

BTW, Wednesday’s tempo run was brought to you by the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

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I was going to write about future races and whatnot, but I think I’ll save that for next week. Have a good week!

-Lauren

Ringing in the New Year, with 16 of our favorite people

Posted by Lauren

Ok, since starting to blog again I’ve used four posts to cover Thanksgiving to Christmas… and you KNOW what’s next (plus, I mentioned it in the title)… New Year’s! After an eventful year-end at work (including a fun happy hour on 12/30), I woke up for 6 AM bar on New Year’s Eve. Gotta tuck, tuck, tuck before partying all night, right? After class we packed up the car and drove to Sacramento, where we picked up Kerry and Matt. Two hours later, we arrived here…

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This lovely cabin in South Lake Tahoe was perfect for our group. We divvied up the bed assignments and decided to head into town for drinks/food. There were good reviews on Yelp for The Brewery, so we gave it a shot.

Unfortunately the 30 min wait quote turned into an hour, and then when we finally sat down (they separated our group of 9 into two tables in different rooms), our waiter took about an hour to take our order/deliver drinks. He didn’t even say if food was on its way and 1/2 of our group hadn’t eaten anything all day! Yikes. All in all, we won’t be back and we wouldn’t recommend for groups.

We went back to the cabin and played a few drinking games….

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Surprise of the night goes to Nicole. After working all day on the 31st, she was going to spend the night at home and wake up early to drive to Tahoe. Instead, she drove up to Tahoe with her boyfriend THAT night and made it before the countdown. It was awesome!! Nicole is assimilating into my college friend group which is basically the greatest thing ever.

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We kept celebrating as the midnight countdown drew near…..

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Just because you’re in a cabin doesn’t mean you can’t dress up!

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Ari, Nicole, Me, Kerry, Krizia

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(Most of) The Crew… Vic, Maria, Kyle, Ellie, Matt, Ari, Andrew, Clay, Kyle, Ian, Nicole, Chase, Tyler, Krish, Kerry!

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One of those selfies that rivals Ellen’s. Lucky for us, Ari has really long arms!

Also lucky for Kerry who, on the morning of New Year’s Day, found the hidden coin in her slice of Ari’s homemade vasilopita (greek tradition: cake made for new years with a hidden coin baked inside; finder has good luck for the year). Lucky ducky! tahoe06tahoed1

I’m not sure why this photo below is relevant, but we look pretty cute. :) We spent a lot of cabin time on the couch, in our PJs….

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But we tried to get outside to enjoy the snow too! On New Years we went sledding outside our cabin….

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Darren & Kitra (newlyweds!)

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Victor & Maria (newlyweds!)

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Kerry & Krish (NOT newlyweds! haha)

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Clay, Darren, Andrew

After sledding we did something…. maybe watch football? (there was a LOT of football). Then we enjoyed a delicious HOMEMADE lasagna dinner, courtesy of Kitra and Darren. HOLY MOLY it was so goooooood. After dinner we played the most epic game of Baseball ever. First, we split the cabin into two teams: Nor Cal vs. So Cal. Up until the 7th inning stretch Team Nor Cal had a hefty lead. Then, Kerry’s lucky coin rubbed off on the So Cal team and they came back with an epic 9th inning, including a walk-off home run.

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It. Was. Awesome. After that we hailed two cabs and went to Harrah’s so the guys could gamble.

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Tyler left the craps table with a good chunk of change and the other guys….. didn’t do too bad. I think. We also had fun on the slots, especially when Ian won about $80 on the penny machine. You better bet we hooted and hollered as if he won $8,000.

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The next morning we had an early wake up call for a group photo. (Nicole took it, thank you!) But really, we had to get going so that half the group could hit the slopes at Heavenly.

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Since we brought our gear, Kyle and I were able to get a few runs in before the rest of the group arrived on the mountain. We also had time for a suuuuper sunny/squinty selfie. That lake tho.

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Then we found the group! There was pretty much one (fun) skiable run that was open. So we did that over and over and over. It was also nice stopping at lunchtime to soak up the sun :)

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Kyle K.

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Clay

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Victor (lol)

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Tyler

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Matt

Around 4 pm Kyle and I went back to the cabin and jumped into the hot tub where Kerry, Krish, Ian, Nicole, and Chase had been happily stewin for most of the day. Then Ari came out and took the funniest picture of the whole trip. HAHAHAH love this.

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That night we ordered takeout from Hunan Garden which was really smart because we were 1) getting sick of pizza rolls and tortilla chips and 2) Clay loves Chinese food (mostly Panda Express though) and 3) we needed a good base before playing round after round of Asshole and King’s Cup. Things got interesting when we set a rule for breaking the ring-of-cards… ;)

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The next morning (Sunday) a few of us drove to the lake… you know, LAKE TAHOE. The coolest thing was happening 30 feet away from the “beach” — the rim of the lake was freezing! You could walk out on to the frozen ice layer and see it cracking at the edges. Chunks of ice would float in and out. It was really entertaining! tahoec2tahoec3

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…..And good for photos :)

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That night we all went out for sushi at Samurai (there were only 8 of us left) and then finished the night with Jenga. Who doesn’t love Jenga?! So suspenseful.

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And that’s how Nicole and I spent New Years with 16 of our favorite people. Looking forward to everything in 2015!

How was your New Years? What was the best part?

The holidays are over, but I can still share these….

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Posted by Lauren

The holidays are over, but I can still share these…. PHOTOS!

Yes, I know it’s January. But let’s back up and relive the December fun :)

My first holiday “party” was the cookie decorating happy hour at work. After Dreamforce we moved into a new office that’s in the middle of nowhere (Redwood Shores) and to keep things jolly about the office we created “Team Fun” to organize bi-monthly, themed happy hours. I loved the cookie decorating one and was pretty proud of my snowman sugar cookie.

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Next up, Kim’s infamous holiday party in Fresno! I’m fairly confident that everyone who is invited to Kim’s party looks forward to it all year. She’s just a spectacular hostess and continues to surprise us with her festive/glamorous decorations, drinks, and food! (Here’s a recap of 2012 and 2013)

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It was extra nice to see Holly and Molly (after Oktoberfest!) and Megan and Paul (and their adorable pup!) and Wes (from the dorms) and Margaret and meet Kim’s boyfriend for the first time. How many days until the next Martinis and Mistletoe party?! :)

–SIDEBAR real quick for a photo of Nicole (and her bf!) at her company holiday party–

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Ow ow! So hot.

Next “holiday” party? San Francisco’s ridiculously awesome SantaCon. I forget what weekend it was, but with approx 20 minutes of brainstorming Kyle and I both found Santa-worthy outfits and headed up to the city via Caltrain with Jeremy, Pam, Kit, Adrienne, Sallie, Chris, and some others. I took two fuzzy white socks from CVS, cut them up on the train, and safety pinned them to the bottom of my red dress. I wish I would have snapped a photo! Everyone was so festive, and yet this is all I have to document the day….. #fail

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Met up with some coworkers in the middle of SantaCon! Speaking of coworkers….

The day after SantaCon, we pulled ourselves together for our company holiday party at our CEO’s house. Like last year, there was Christmas caroling a la piano, silly games, and gainsta merryment. This time we upped the ante with a photo wall and fake cigs.

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A few days before that, I joined Kyle at his company’s holiday party in Menlo Park. It was a very classy event…. with a jammin’ jazz quartet and fancy buffet dinner. It was awesome meeting Kyle’s coworkers and catching up with my pal Joffer who just started working there!

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Next up: Our Christmas & NYE festivities…. in SF and Tahoe!

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Would you rather: decorate xmas cookies or dress up like Santa and roam around SF?

Party of 5 LA Reunion

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Posted by Lauren

No, I’m not talking about Scott Wolf and Lacey Chabert reuniting with Neve Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt… I’m talking about my high school besties (affectionately self-dubbed Party of 5), and our reunion in LA this weekend. It’s hard to believe that we haven’t ALL been together since Vanessa’s 21st in LA fiiiive years ago.

Katie, Vanessa, Natalie, Sarah and I became best friends while on our high school dance team – we span three grade levels and have pretty much experienced our best and most embarrassing moments together. The hidden facebook photos are there to prove it ;)

Our busy lives, changing careers, and constant travel plans have made it hard to get everyone together at the same time, so when we were at Katie’s bachelorette party in May, we were like – this. needs. to. happen. now. So we threw around a few potential dates and luckily everyone could make it to LA this past weekend (shout out to Katie for flying in after a Friday wedding she was in and Sarah for flying in after an intense NFL cheerleader dance practice)

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(po5 get-togethers require candy, specifically sour patch kids and raisinettes)

Saturday

Our day started off with breakfast at Nat’s house with Vanessa. Nat’s quite the hostess (just like her momma) and prepped yogurt, smoothies, almond butter toast, and espresso drinks for us! The three of us drove towards the beach, hiked down some stairs and enjoyed the crashing waves for approx 30 mins before hiking back to the car…

We drove to LAX and waited for Katie to arrive… [and went to Carl’s Jr because we were bored/hungry/they have sweet potato fries now?/the cinnamon pull-apart ads worked on us]. Once we picked Katie up, we went to grab lunch from Mendocino Farms (Yelp) in Marina Del Rey. My “A Sandwich Study of Heat” was awesome — fresh local farm turkey, smoked gouda, smashed avocado, chili aioli, jalapeno relish, tomato, romaine lettuce, and fresh jalapenos. mmmmmm

Food in tow, we went back to LAX and grabbed Sarah, at that point the party officially began! We ate lunch back at Nat’s house, sipped on some white wine, and eventually got ready for dinner :)

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Katie – Vanessa – me – Natalie – Sarah

Dinner at Pearl’s Liquor Bar in West Hollywood (Yelp) was a great choice by LA resident Natalie. We sat upstairs and enjoyed the foggy, perfect temp weather.

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Drinks… each of us ordered something different and then we passed everything around so we could try them all. I love it when this happens. This is how I am continuously reminded that whiskey is not my thing [yet]. I think my Villa Nova was the best of the bunch — gin, pavan, cucumber, lemon, egg whites, lemon-mint wheel.

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Food… we decided to order a few plates and share. Our picks included the chicken meatballs (seriously, who doesn’t like meatballs?), the truffled mushroom flatbread, the crispy broccolini (my fave), and the burrata + candied oranges. After surfing through 100s of hidden facebook photos and laughing at our younger selves, we ordered the smoked pepperoni flatbread. Memory lane makes you hungry :)

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A quick uber (or two) down Sunset led us to our next drink stop, at the Mondrian hotel’s Sky Bar (Yelp). We strategically arrived before 9 to avoid the hollywood doormen. The place was near empty, so we were able to snap beautiful pics like this one….

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Ooh la la!

We headed to the bar and forked over $13 each for a drink. You pay for the ambiance, my friends.

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Then, we participated in our favorite pastime (no, not dancing)… photo taking! If you want to see our selfies, you can go look at my Instagram :)

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It hasn’t rained in LA in a loooooong time, so of course it rains the one night we are there at an outside bar :) California needs the rain badly (esp. because those Bruins wasted 10 million gallons or something like that). We waltzed out of Sky Bar and continued down the street, ending our night at The Den (Yelp). We all had a great time there mingling with strangers under fake names (mine was Tom lol). Our Uber XL driver was awesome (and also named Tom) because he laughed at all of our jokes. Back at Nat’s, we ate some mac n’ cheese and then hit the hay.

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Sunday

We let Nat’s younger brother Mark pick our brunch spot. He made an eggselent choice with Santa Monica’s trendy Brick + Mortar (Yelp). Half the table ordered the $15 unlimited mimosas, but the real draw seemed to be the extensive Bloody Mary bar — it even had yogurt covered pretzels as a topping option! What the.

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While listening to the most amazing playlist, we guzzled down coffee and tasty breakfast plates. I went with the eggs benedict with bacon, while a few others chose the popular pretzel-croissant bfast sandwiches. It was all good, so if you’re looking for a recommendation, this places gets an A from me. Or an A+ if people watching is one of your hobbies.

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Aww, ladies who brunch :)

So then, we drove back to Natalie’s and asked Mark to take this photo of us. We were trying to recreate the photo just below it (which Nicole took!) Yay for siblings who also agree to be photographers!

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August, 2014

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August, 2006 – the night we dressed up crazy and went to In n Out just for funsies.

Nat’s boyfriend Ethan joined us and we all walked down Wilshire to Cabo Cantina for a few drinks, rounds of Heads Up, and a huge plate of nachos. Andrew stopped by and we convinced him to become a professional artist. Suddenly it was BOGO time and extra beers were magically showing up at our table. This was also about the time when we had to head back to Nat’s apartment to pack up :( Poor timing.

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I think I speak for everyone when I say that our time together was too short. I love these girls more than they know it and I’m so happy (HASHTAG blessed) to have them in my life. I wouldn’t be the girl I am today without them (my awkward stage would have lasted approx 2.5 years longer).

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LUCKILY, we have Katie’s wedding coming up in October that will bring us back together in the wonderful city of Portland!!! We’re planning to share a giant airbnb for an epic sleepover.

Can’t wait!

-Lauren

p.s. yes I blogged about this because Katie asked me “so, are you still blogging or what!?” — thanks for the nudge!
p.p.s. Katie has an awesome blog about happy hours, cocktails, and stuff to do in the Pacific Northwest. It’s hilarious and you should read it!