Paddleboarding, Donuts, and BFFs


Posted by Lauren

Speaking of best friend trips in southern California……..

One month ago, Krizia and I drove down to LA to spend time with some of our favorite people. We left Friday after work and made it to Pasadena in time for late night food/drinks with Clay and Andrew. We started at Congregation Ale House (Yelp) – nice beer selection and sweet potato fries… then we went to Pasadena’s eclectic 3-floor billiards/restaurant/karaoke spot, Barney’s Beanery (Yelp).


Nicole, do you think our official blog song can be Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me?! Just think about it… :)


Clay insisted that we try downtown Pasadena’s late night staple before heading home… King Taco (Yelp). You can’t go wrong with $1.30 street tacos!


Krizia and I woke up early, excited for a full day with our other two college roommates, Fran and Kerry. With two boxes of Bob’s Donuts (as in San Francisco’s Bob Donuts) in tow, we arrived at Fran’s house for a phenomenal potluck breakfast of sorts…


Kerry brought bacon breakfast burritos (ooh alliteration!) and Fran made a huge pot of coffee… We chowed down and made plans for the rest of the day – stand up paddleboarding in Newport Beach!


Our two-hour paddleboard rentals gave us just enough time to cruise through Newport Bay and the Balboa Coves neighborhood. It was so fun!!!! Only one of us fell in, any guesses?



After returning our boards, we walked over to the ocean-side of Newport and laid out on the beach until our skin felt just a little tooooo hot. Only one of us got a sunburn, any guesses? Hint: it was also the girl who fell in :)

Fran had the best idea for our next stop – Costa Mesa’s “Camp” green gathering spot. While Krish and Kerry ordered food from Native Foods (Yelp) (why don’t these exist in the Bay Area!?!?), Fran and I walked over to Milk + Honey (Yelp), a super cool coffee/tea shop with  shaved ice specialty drinks. A blended chai sounded amazing on the hot day, t’was love at first sip!


Plus, their little garden courtyard (above) was awesome. Super SoCal. We also grabbed cookies from the Blackmarket Bakery (Yelp) and sat outside to share. Dang, those were good too.


When we got back to Fran’s house, we were greeted by Wes! He spent the rest of the night hanging out with the four of us and it was great to catch up with him.


For dinner, we picked up supplies from a local grocery store and Fran magically made us miso soup and humongous rice/seaweed/salmon sashimi bowls. Want to watch her creation come together in 15 seconds? Watch this on Instie.



We ended the night chatting over a bottle of wine and a few donuts. Couldn’t have asked for a better day with these amazing ladies. Can’t wait til next time! #mo8forever


Party of 5 LA Reunion


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)


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


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 :)


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.


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.


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 :)


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….


Ooh la la!

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


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 :)





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.

* * *


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.


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.



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!


August, 2014


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.


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).


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!


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!

8 weeks ago….


Posted by Lauren

8 weeks ago…. I just stopped blogging for no good reason at all.

It was just before the Stagecoach country music festival in Palm Springs. I had a great time with a few of my favorite college girlfriends and fell in love with cowboy boots…












The following week, Kyle’s parents came to town (more on that later!) and I pretended to be a news anchor for a spoof video my company put together….




Then I saw this really good deal on peanut butter (this is something blogger Lauren circa 2010 would care about so I’m including it)….


Meanwhile, Kyle and I kept up our weekly date nights with stuff like spicy Indian food at Darbar and a night at the theatre (watching a play put on by two of my high school friends (so talented!!))




Speaking of high school friends, the next chronological thing in my iPhone Camera App is this lovely photo of two high school besties (Nat and Sarah) after we had dinner at Nat’s house (thank you Cin!)



And then…. IT HAPPENED.

Don’t freak out. Nicole and I didn’t decide to move to Canada or anything….

I’m talking about Pulse 2014, one of the defining moments for the Customer Success Industry.



Sorry, I’ll stop being dramatic.

Our company’s annual conference was a big success this year, and I couldn’t be more proud of the team I’m a part of, the company, and everyone else who helped make it so amazing….







1 day later I was on a plane to LAX for Nicole’s graduation weekend (more on that later). Spoiler alert: it was awesome and Nicole is my hero.



The following weekend (Memorial Day) I went to Austin for Katie’s bachelorette party. (Also, more on that later!!!)



Next up? Hair color, random San Jose reunion with college buddies, and a trip with my mom and David to San Diego for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon (totally want to do a full recap on that trip – eep! Lots to catch up on!)






That brings us to the beginning of June, aka my favorite month of the year :)

We exhibited at Zuora’s conference and then enjoyed a small team dinner in the Mission….




Subsequently, Kyle and I had two nearly back-to-back dates in SF. One at the fancy-ish Sutro’s (Cliff House) during Dine About Town and the other at Mission Bowling for “Booze, Brunch, and Bowling” a la howaboutwe….









Between those two fabulous dates, I enjoyed a long hike with Nicole after work AND celebrated summer with all of Gainsight at our first Field Day event!






(We are almost up to date, folks!)

BBQ oysters (those suckers are hard to open, even with a screwdriver) at Kit/Adrienne’s BBQ two weeks ago….


Sister lunch date (soooo happy she’s back home, for good!)


Happy hour on Friday with Serra, Nicole, and my mom….



A kickass wedding in Hollister this past Saturday (congrats Darren and Kitra!)




And then a lovely Sunday BBQ to celebrate Father’s Day….



If you can’t tell by now, one of my most favorite extracurricular activities is enjoying every last second of my weekends. Want to know what’s next for my birthday weekend in 5 days?


It’s been a while but if you made it this far, thank you for reading :) I’ll be back soon! I think I found my mojo….


Weekend in Occidental


Posted by Lauren

Saturday morning, and I’ve been sucked into the ABC Family Harry Potter marathon. Sounds about right.


I began my day with an awesome 9 am Bar class (great thigh set today!) and as soon as I’ve posted this I’ll try to squeeze in a quick run before my friend Sam’s BBQ.


Friday night I had the best, casual treadmill run while watching 2.5 episodes of Brooklyn Nine Nine. If only it was always that easy to lose track of time.


After the run, Kyle and I walked downtown to pick up food (me=frozen yogurt) and stopped at RedBox to pick up American Hustle.


I’m so happy all the oscar nominated flicks are out! AH was so good, especially loved the scene of Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper at the disco. We are now calling our microwave a “science oven”.


Let’s talk about last weekend’s road trip to Tomales Bay / Bodega Bay / Occidental. We left around 9am and drove 1 hr 45 mins north to the cute coastal town of Marshall. We parked near The Marshall Store and ordered 6 BBQ oysters and a cup of chowder to compliment the leftover pizza we brought along from home.


The views were great and the oysters were HUUUGE.



We got back in the car and drove another hour north to Kortum Trail north of Bodega Bay.


Again, spectacular views!!!




After ~6 miles of walking/hiking, we drove inland to Occidental. We passed through the town of Bodega and saw the church in Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. Kinda cool!


We stayed at an amazing AirBnB “Redwood Retreat in Wine Country” for $90/night. “Nesetled in a redwood forest… the room is steps away from an outside hot tub, deck, and creek… free wi-fi and no television or cell service… birds, foxes and rabbits also share the property… driveway is 1/3 of a mile long” Need I say more?


We hung out at the AirBnB, read for a little bit, and then got ready for dinner in Occidental.


Bistro Des Copains

3782 Bohemian Hwy, Occidental

This cozy cottage serves French fare with fresh foods found in the local farmers markets. It’s highly rated on Yelp and really only one of 2 dinner options in town. Kyle treated me to a very nice 6-year anniversary dinner!

Crème Brulée aux Champignons Mushroom – crème brulée in mushroom broth

A savory creme brulee sounded pretty unique, and we love all things mushroom, so we gave this starter a go. The best spoonfuls had some of the crispy top, part of the gooey middle, and a coating of the mushroom broth. We soaked up all of the tasty mushroom broth with the basket of bread.

Lapin à la Moutarde – Braised Cloverdale rabbit, braised greens, butter noodles, mustard sauce

OMG. This dish! We literally licked the plate clean. Kyle (who has never been a fan of mustard) loved it as much as I did, despite the Moutarde :) The rabbit and butter noodles just melted in your mouth. LOVED IT.

Trout dish… not listed online anymore!

I really wish the details were on their website for this dish! I loved the risotto and capers and the trout was as rich as salmon. We agreed, however, that the rabbit was the star of the show.

After dinner we walked up the street to the other restaurant downtown for some drinks…


Barley & Hops

3688 Bohemian Hwy, Occidental

I had wine with dinner, so I continued that trend and ordered the house wine. Kyle had a few of their beers while we listened to the live music and watched NCAA!


Oh, and we ordered dessert of course!! Cinnamon sugar-coated pretzel filled with Ghirardelli chocolate. Warm and gooey :)



We woke up ready for a big breakfast (because who isn’t??). The **only** place to get breakfast in Occidental is

Howard Station Cafe

3611 Bohemain Hwy, Occidental

It’s the only place to go because it’s the best place to go (ok, and it’s the only thing open). They’ve been voted “Best Breakfast” for like 5 years or something and the place has a lot of old school charm with a long history tied to the railroads. We waited about 15 minutes for a table (along with half the town) and were seated quickly. Kyle chose the eggs benedict with chipotle sauce and I picked the blueberry pancakes. We split the two (both delicious) and headed back home…


It was a terrific getaway weekend!