Partytime

Party of 5 LA Reunion

20140803-201314-72794550.jpg

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)

20140803-195504-71704661.jpg

(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 :)

20140803-195615-71775112.jpg

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.

20140803-195505-71705209.jpg

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.

20140803-195505-71705356.jpg

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 :)

20140803-195505-71705497.jpg

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….

20140803-195614-71774002.jpg

Ooh la la!

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

20140803-195614-71774179.jpg

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 :)

20140803-195614-71774494.jpg

20140803-195614-71774729.jpg

 

20140803-195613-71773504.jpg

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.

* * *

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.

20140803-202952-73792011.jpg

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.

20140803-202951-73791673.jpg

20140803-202951-73791328.jpg

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!

20140803-202952-73792459.jpg

August, 2014

po5pole

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.

20140803-201237-72757032.jpg

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).

20140803-201237-72757960.jpg

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!

The time Nicole graduated and we partied.

20140619-171344-62024161.jpg

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 :)

20140619-162842-59322837.jpg

20140619-162843-59323032.jpg

20140619-162843-59323198.jpg

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.

20140619-163715-59835562.jpg

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….

20140619-165808-61088772.jpg

20140619-165808-61088978.jpg

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

20140619-170013-61213576.jpg

20140619-170014-61214128.jpg

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

20140619-170440-61480556.jpg

20140619-170441-61481901.jpg

20140619-171344-62024161.jpg

20140619-170440-61480286.jpg

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

20140619-170651-61611677.jpg

20140619-170651-61611834.jpg

20140619-170652-61612003.jpg

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.

20140619-170652-61612190.jpg

20140619-171344-62024003.jpg

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
WebsiteYelp

First order of business, order wine.

20140619-171344-62024578.jpg

Second order of business: make silly faces

20140619-171307-61987664.jpg

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..

20140619-171344-62024929.jpg

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

20140619-171426-62066918.jpg

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

20140619-171427-62067266.jpg

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

20140619-171427-62067612.jpg

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

20140619-171427-62067962.jpg

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

20140619-171428-62068643.jpg

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

20140619-171428-62068298.jpg

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

20140619-171307-61987503.jpg

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)

20140619-171705-62225672.jpg

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!)

20140619-171706-62226101.jpg

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 :)

20140619-171707-62227746.jpg

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??

-Lauren

Salad + Work Fun

20140304-123538.jpg

Posted by Lauren

I ate this tasty salad for lunch… shredded collard greens, broccoli slaw, red pepper, pepperoncini, great northern beans, shredded chicken + TJ’s goddess dressing.

20140304-123605.jpg

It might be my favorite lunch I’ve ever “made” at work – fresh and simple.

Last night I had the same thing + cheerios + chocolate chips + 2 Girl Scout cookies. All I want to do at night is snack, snack, snack. How do people break that habit…?

20140304-123924.jpg

But, no more salad pictures. Instead I want to brag a little bit about how much I love where I work. We had “mandatory fun” last week which manifested itself as super professional karaoke. I mean, look at the knobs!

20140304-125133.jpg

Our CEO and Chief Customer Officer kicked things off with their rendition of Grease’s Summer Lovin’. Things escalated as coworkers powered through Ke$ha, Eminem, What the Fox Says, Shania Twain, Backstreet Boys, and other classics.

20140304-125143.jpg

Seriously, SO FUN! (Even fun if you’re terrified of singing ::cough::)

We also found a way to copy Ellen’s infamous selfie tweet, when we received news of our story in Entrepreneur Magazine.

20140304-125159.jpg

And as if 50+ hours / week with these people isn’t enough…. we partied together last Friday night in San Francisco under the guise of our coworker’s (2nd) (unofficial) Bachelor party. Things kicked off at Mas Sake!

20140304-125216.jpg

20140304-125249.jpg

20140304-125659.jpg

Awww Marketing Team <3 – Me, Sam, Joe, AK

…. and the sales guys / girl …

20140304-125730.jpg

…. a few of the other ladies at Stock & Trade

20140304-125705.jpg

We had a great night, fueled by sake + cider bombs. Side note: Have you tried sake with cider? Yum!

The other day I fixed our toilet at work. A screw came loose on the flush lever so I opened it up and screwed it back in place. While washing my hands I thought to myself how amazing it is to work at a startup. At a bigger company, I’d just shrug it off and expect it to fix itself. But (no pun intended)… at our office, with it’s two-stall bathroom, that just doesn’t cut it. Every single person has to pitch in and every single person has a crucial role in our path to success.

K, that was random. Basically the little things make me happy :)

-Lauren

Valentines/Presidents Weekend

1268965_10153843327295092_1652759498_o

Posted by Nicole

This weekend was a busy, but FUN one.

Thursday (what I consider the “first” day of the weekend) was a busy day. I worked for a couple hours, went to the gym, and then got ready for the men’s basketball game vs. Utah. Pregame popcorn is a win.

IMG_2594

The game was out by 10 pm and it was perfect time to meet up with friends for a night out. It’s always so convenient having hair and makeup done for the night. I’ve also gotten used to living in red lipstick ha.

IMG_2631

I went to my first big frat party of the semester (feelin’ a little too old for these nowadays) and it was actually very fun. I saw a lot of familiar faces and my ridiculous coral pants sure fit in with the Valentine’s theme.

IMG_2635

If only free ragers with great music, dancing, and company existed after college… they are way too fun.

IMG_2633

Ashley and I kicked off our single’s awareness day on Friday morning with a much needed walk to get breakfast.

IMG_2649

I hung out with some dance girls, took a nap, and eventually rallied for our Valentine’s night out. We decided to go to DBA, the club in Hollywood, again.

IMG_2666

Flag pictures are a must, especially for Presidents Weekend!

IMG_3568

We had a little photoshoot before letting Joe hop in the pic with us.

IMG_2667

The club had a masquerade theme with complimentary masks at the entrance. Free stuff is always the best.

IMG_4917

The club entertainers were a hit once again. Ash danced with one of them and I quickly snapped a pic. They are crazy about photos in the club… trying to keep it all ~*mysterious*~ for first-timers.

IMG_2671

After the late night out, I managed to wake up super motivated to workout on Saturday. After taking two weeks off in January, it has been SO nice having my workout mojo back. I went to the gym and ran 4.25 miles and then went on the spin bike for an hour while catching up on my Feedly. It felt gooooood. I relaxed for the rest of the day, watched the All Star Dunk Contest (disappointing, huh?), and then went to see a friend of a friend’s band perform in West Hollywood. The band was very good!

IMG_2681

On Sunday I woke up and went to this pretty place.

IMG_2682

Then I went home, had lunch, and went for a quick run around my neighborhood. It was super hot outside and my legs felt like lead, but I pushed through and that’s what matters.

IMG_2704

A quick shower and blowdry and I was headed to yet another basketball game. It’s crazy to think that we only have 4 more home games before the PAC-12 Tournament in Vegas!!

1268965_10153843327295092_1652759498_o

I’m obsessed with the wonderful girls on this team… I just can’t say it enough.

1606280_10153843327890092_1443972652_o

This game was an exciting one (even though our team lost) because my dad, stepmom, and stepsis were in attendance. Afterwards, we grabbed a late dinner at Panini Cafe in Downtown LA. Their food is SO GOOD and I’m glad everyone approved of their meals. My falafel wrap and romaine avocado salad sure hit the spot.

IMG_2705

The rest of my night was spent relaxing in bed and watching House of Cards… I am hooked! I just started Season 2 and will probably finish it up in a few days.

Monday was my day to run errands before the week really started. I went to the grocery store and then to the Beverly Center to shop a little bit use an expiring gift card. Then I went to the gym and did my two favorite cardios: spin bike (40 mins) and running (3.25 miles). Kicking my butt at the gym has been awesome. Tomorrow I am supposed to grab lunch with the folks in Hollywood and on Thursday I’m going to visit my grandpa & family in East LA.

I hope your weekend was filled with a good balance of fun and rest. Time for a short week!

– Nicole