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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?

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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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 :)

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

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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?

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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

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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!

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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!!!

-Lauren

Among other things, posing in our Christmas jammies

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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!

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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.

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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
WebsiteYelp

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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LOL, that photo wins Weirdest PJ Pose Award.

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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.

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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!

-Lauren

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?