Category Archives: Life Lately

Life Lately

Major Life Updates: We’re Married & We’re Moving!

Hey guys, it’s been awhile! And A LOT has happened in the last few weeks, so it’s about time that I get you up to speed.

 

Wedding!

Travis and I were married in Boston on Labor Day weekend! Our wedding day was everything I dreamed of and more. It felt so special to be married in the city I grew up in, and to celebrate with our closest friends and family. Once I receive the professional photos from the photographer, I will write a full wedding recap. In the meantime, here are a few photos I collected from our guests.

Rachel Pattison and Travis Winkler Elm Bank Wedding, Boston MA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Rachel Pattison and Travis Winkler Elm Bank Wedding, Boston MA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Rachel Pattison and Travis Winkler Elm Bank Wedding, Boston MA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Honeymoon!

Two full days after our wedding, Travis and I flew from Boston to Greece for our honeymoon! We visited Athens for two days, Mykonos for six and Santorini for another six. It was a perfectly long and relaxing vacation with my favorite person and travel buddy. Since we had plenty of time in each location, we never felt rushed and we were able to take our time exploring each area.

Mykonos Honeymoon ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I have so many photos and Greece travel tips I want to share with you all, but in effort to keep this blog post a reasonable length, I’ll save all that for another day.

Honeymoon in Santorini, Greece ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

And lastly…we’re moving!

And finally, our new BIG piece of news. We’re moving to NYC! Travis accepted a job in New York that we really could not pass up. The role combines two of his favorite things: sports and media, so I’m thrilled for him. Everything is just moving so fast! We just got back from our honeymoon and now we’re in the midst of packing up our apartment here in Los Angeles and trying to find an apartment in New York.

Santa Monica Boardwalk ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This move is certainly bittersweet. When I first moved to Los Angeles five years ago, I regularly told Travis how much I would love to move back east to be closer to our family and friends. But now, five years later, I finally feel settled in Los Angeles. We’ve both made incredible friendships and love the sunny, healthy and active lifestyle here. Los Angeles, specifically Santa Monica, is where Travis and I have spent the majority of our relationship and built our first “home” (ahem, one bedroom apartment) together. It’s where we fostered over twelve dogs and ultimately found Bessie, our favorite furry family member. It’s where I taught myself food photography and decided to turn my blog into a little business. We are really going to miss this city.

Bessie ll Chihuahua Terrier Mix Rescue Dog from Los Angeles, CA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

There are, however, SO many things about New York that I am looking forward to. I can’t wait to be just blocks or a quick subway ride away from so many of our friends. I look forward to countless dinner parties, holidays, birthdays, and many other celebrations with people we love. We’ve had to miss out on many of these events over the years while we were on the west coast. I also look forward to being able to take public transportation just about anywhere and not sitting in traffic on a regular basis.

A few people have asked me if I am ready to go back to the cold winters. The short answer is not so much, but I do look forward to having seasons again. I think having seasons makes you appreciate the good weather days even more. In Los Angeles, I rarely check the temperature because it’s pretty much 75 degrees and sunny every.single.day. I will miss being able to jog to the gym at 7AM on a January morning in just leggings and a thin long-sleeved top.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This has been an absolutely crazy, fun, exciting year for us. From quitting my job, to traveling throughout Europe, to getting married, and now moving across the country, I can honestly say that 2017 was our best year yet.

Thank you for reading and following along. I appreciate it more than you know! I’m looking forward to getting back on a regular schedule with you guys. Stay tuned for some delicious recipes coming atcha this month!

International Travel Life Lately

I Quit My Job. And We’re Going to Europe.

In all honesty, I’ve started and stopped writing this post so many times in the last week. Little Chef Big Appetite has always been about my recipes, healthy eating, and tidbits of my daily life. I know you guys aren’t coming here to read about my career or philosophies on life.

But, over the course of the last month there have been a couple of big changes in my life that I feel need some extra explaining, hence this post.

For as long as I can remember I have been incredibly jealous of anyone that I know or read about that quits their regular full-time job and goes off to travel the world. This includes the people that take a gap year between high school and college to get more “real life” experience, or those who graduate and move to a far away country to teach English to kids in need. I would always look at those people and think, “Wow, that sounds so daring and exciting…but I could never do that.”

But why? Why am I incapable of doing those things? I love to travel and I clearly am happy for others when they do it, so what’s stopping me?

Throughout my whole life there has been a “path” to success that I had to follow. Do well in high school and athletics to get into an excellent college. Study hard in college and secure summer internships to get the “right” job after graduation. Work very hard in your job to get a promotion. And it continues…

I want to stress that there is nothing wrong with this path. Until about a month ago I thought that this path was the only one I was meant to be on. I wouldn’t have had the countless opportunities or drive to succeed if it wasn’t for my parents. They’re the ones who encouraged me and showed me that all of the above was possible. I am forever indebted to them for all that they’ve taught and given me. I love you M & D.

Right around the New Year, I had a very enlightening conversation with Travis that really opened my eyes and showed me that maybe there was more to life than I was letting myself see.

I Quit My Corporate Job to Travel Across Europe. And You Can Too! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I told Travis that there was so much of the world that I wanted to explore, and I just wished I could get up and go like some of our friends or other bloggers I read about.

He looked at me frankly and asked why we couldn’t be “those people”. At first I gave a couple reasons:

It’s not practical. What about our jobs?

It’s too expensive. How will we afford it?

We’ll come back and be broke.

What about our apartment? What about Bessie?

But those weren’t the real reasons. The real thing holding me back was simple. It was fear. I was scared of the unknown and scared of breaking off the only path that I knew how to follow.

Travis is incredibly practical and career-driven, so to be honest, I was surprised when he started listing the reasons why we should go travel. Neither of us studied abroad in college or traveled afterwards, and there are so many places in Europe that we want to see. We don’t have kids yet, so at this point there is really no one depending on us. And, making money is great, but we will have the rest of our lives to do that. In that moment, I thought, “Okay, if Travis, the king of practicality, is telling me that we can do this, we have to.”

Later that day, we started doing some research and realized that traveling to Europe in the winter could be very smart. There are far fewer tourists and everything is much less expensive than in the busy summer months. So after talking to our families, our minds were made up. We were going to do it. The decision was really that quick.

I gave my company three weeks notice, so I could help make sure there was a smooth transition, and my last day at work was January 27th.

I realize that by the way I am writing this (and by reading the title of this post), it might seem as though Travis and I are leaving Los Angeles, packing our lives into backpacks and traveling halfway across the globe for the foreseeable future. We’re not. We’re going to Europe for a month. With full suitcases. And staying in inexpensive AirBnBs and hotels. But you know what? Baby steps.

We want to see the world, so we’re starting small. And who knows, this could be the start of something really exciting for us.

I Quit My Corporate Job to Travel Across Europe. And You Can Too! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Travis and I spent the last week mapping out our month-long trip. First up is Paris, and from there we’re headed to Amsterdam, Vienna, Prague, Berlin and Copenhagen. So if you have any recommendations for any of those cities, please share them in the comments below or email me! I’d love any tips or advice.

We leave in a week, so the next few days are all going to be dedicated to planning and packing.

Our good friend will be apartment sitting for us, and Bessie is going on her own little vacation to the east coast to stay with Travis’s family while we’re away. We are very grateful to them that they’re willing to take care of our little Bess for so long.

I Quit My Corporate Job to Travel Across Europe. And You Can Too! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I am ridiculously excited about our upcoming adventure, and I definitely plan to blog regularly throughout the trip to share lots of details of where we are, what we’re seeing, and most importantly, what we’re eating. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram because I will be sharing lots of daily snapshots over there.

And in case you’re wondering, I am not sure what exactly my plan is when I come back, but for the first time in my life, I am okay with that.

One thing is for sure, though, you’ll be hearing from me much more often on here. Blogging consistently while having a demanding full-time job is no joke, and I am very grateful for the next month+ to have the time to dedicate to growing this hobby of a blog into something much greater.

If you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, thank you for you reading, and thank you so much for your support.

Life Lately Meal Plan

I Need to Get Back on Track

What a crazy month it’s been!

I’ve traveled a bunch, we got engaged (!!!), Travis’s sister visited, I celebrated one of my best friend’s weddings, and I attended a bunch of events for both work and my blog.

I won’t lie, it’s been FUN, but I have had my fair share of indulgences this month — way more than usual.

Cinnamon Crunch Donut from Sidecar Donuts & Coffee in Santa Monica, CA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

My ideal healthy lifestyle is all about balance. I aim to workout 5 times a week and eat healthy 85% of the time, leaving the other 15% to allow myself to splurge a bit and just live it up.

Recently, I’ve really been slacking my on diet and because of that, I’ve been feeling super sluggish at the gym. I’m glad I haven’t fallen off the bandwagon with my workouts, but I know that if my diet was better then I would feel way more energetic while working out.

Crispy Chicken Sandwich from Hollywood Burger in Hollywood, CA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Now that things have calmed down a bit and we have a lot less travel planned, I’ve set myself a few healthy goals for the next few months:

  1. Plan and buy groceries for at least 4 dinners every week. I know that meal planning is one thing that really helps to keep me on track, so I need to be better about planning specific meals as opposed to just winging it when I get home after a long day.
  2. Cut down on that vino! Sure, work is crazy and at times I can be pretty stressed, but having a glass of wine every night isn’t going to fix that. During the week, I am going to swap out my glass of wine for fruit-infused water or green tea and leave the wine for weekends and special events. I know the wine is also contributing to making me feel sluggish in the mornings, which leads me to my next goal…

Rose from The Anchor in Venice, CA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

3. Work out 5-6 days a week. I’ve been pretty good about keeping up with my workout schedule, but there have been plenty of mornings where I skip my workout because I would prefer to sleep an extra half hour or I tell myself I have too many other things to do. No more excuses — make fitness a priority.

I need to get back on track with my worksouts ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

So keeping with my healthy goals, here’s this week’s meal plan:

Monday: Pizza Spaghetti Pie (Never tried this one, but the reviews are raving!)

Tuesday: Maple-Mustard Salmon + Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad –> Man, I love summer fruits!

Wednesday: Turkey Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze (Love this recipe and I haven’t made it in so long!) + Roasted Broccoli

Thursday: Out with friends

Friday: Grilled Skirt Steak + my favorite Extra-Crispy Roasted Potatoes

 

I am focusing my meals around protein and vegetables with some healthy complex carbs mixed in.

Alright, off to the gym now. I hope you guys have a great start to your week!

Life Lately

We’re Engaged!! And This is Our Proposal Story…

As promised on Monday, I am back today to share our engagement story!

We're Engaged!! And This Is Our Proposal Story! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Two weekends ago, Travis and I went to Philadelphia for his 5th year college reunion. For those of you who are longtime readers, you’ll remember that Travis and I met at the University of Pennsylvania when he was a senior and I was junior. We had a long distance relationship for a year, when he graduated and moved to Los Angeles for a job and I was still a senior at Penn. After I graduated, I moved out to Los Angeles and we lived separately for a year before moving in together in Santa Monica.

Okay, back to the story!

When Travis first mentioned wanting to go back to Philly for his 5th year reunion, I told him that I didn’t need to go with him because I wanted him to be able to celebrate with all of his college roommates who he doesn’t see that often. Travis insisted that I should come along, but I didn’t think anything about it because his reasons made sense. Neither of us had been back to Philadelphia since my college graduation four years ago and we have so many favorite spots in Philly that we both wanted to revisit.

Travis did all of the planning for the trip. He rented an Air B&B in Philadelphia so that all of his college roommates could stay in a house together again. This is another reason I was not suspicious. This wasn’t a romantic getaway, I was bunkered up all weekend with a lot of guys!

We're Engaged!! And This Is Our Proposal Story! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

On Saturday morning, Travis said he wanted to head to the Penn campus a little earlier than the rest of his friends so he could film some of the festivities on his GoPro. Now, if you know Travis, you’ll know that he takes that tiny camera everywhere with us, documenting all of our trips and events, so again, nothing was out of the norm here.

We're Engaged!! And This Is Our Proposal Story! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Once we arrived on campus, Travis suggested that we get our photo taken in front of the famous sculpture in the middle of the campus that spells the word “LOVE.” Everyone takes their photo in front of that sculpture, so there was a little bit of a line. When it was our turn, we asked another couple to take our photo and once they were done, I started to walk away. But all of a sudden, Travis grabbed my hand, pulled me back, got down on one knee and held up a ring. It was there that he asked me to marry him!
I was SO surprised! Actually, to put it frankly, I was in complete shock! At first I didn’t even say anything because I couldn’t believe what was happening — when I tried to speak, no words would make it out of my mouth (even though my brain was screaming “YES!!!”). Finally, he stood up, put the ring on my hand and told me that we actually had to hurry because he had a bottle of champagne waiting for us at a local restaurant about 2 blocks away. I think I said something like “Hold on! You just proposed! Can we slow down for a second?” but he said that we were 40 minutes late for our reservation (oops, my fault — I was very slow to get ready in the morning, but he couldn’t have rushed me because I would have known something was up).
As we walked to the restaurant, I kept staring at the most gorgeous ring on my hand in disbelief! I was asking Travis one million questions: “Who knew?,” “How long were you planning this?”, etc.
When we arrived at the restaurant, the manager took us back to our table. Next thing I know, we’re walking into a private room and I see both of our immediate families standing there waiting for us.
We're Engaged!! And This Is Our Proposal Story! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com
THAT is when it finally hit me and I broke into tears. I couldn’t believe it. Travis pulled off the most incredible surprise – I had no idea any of this was coming. He planned an absolutely perfect proposal and the best day of our lives.
We're Engaged!! And This Is Our Proposal Story! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com
I was beyond appreciative that both of our families drove all the way to Philadelphia to see us for just a couple of hours — even with two tiny babies in tow!
We're Engaged!! And This Is Our Proposal Story! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 I also can’t believe that everyone kept all of these secrets from me for so long!

We're Engaged!! And This Is Our Proposal Story! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com
We're Engaged!! And This Is Our Proposal Story! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com
We had a beautiful celebratory brunch (although I could barely eat anything from all the excitement), and it was so nice to spend even just a few hours with family who I don’t see nearly enough.
After brunch, our families had to depart and we had to head back to campus to meet up with friends for more of the reunion activities. It was very hard to leave our families, but I know I will see them all soon enough.
We're Engaged!! And This Is Our Proposal Story! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com
Once we got back to campus, the word had spread and everyone was so excited to hear the story and celebrate with us.
Our friends tried to have us recreate the engagement (since Travis didn’t end up getting any of it on his GoPro), which just made us crack up the entire time.
We're Engaged!! And This Is Our Proposal Story! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com
We're Engaged!! And This Is Our Proposal Story! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com
We're Engaged!! And This Is Our Proposal Story! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com
Words cannot even describe my happiness. I couldn’t have asked for a better proposal, and spending it with our families meant the most to me. I love Travis with all of my heart and I am SO excited to see what the future holds.
And just since everyone has been asking, no we don’t have a date or venue picked out yet. Right now, we are just taking in every moment we can to celebrate!
Thank you so much for reading and your congratulations on Instagram – you guys are the BEST!
XOXOX

Life Lately

Bessie and Her Many “Beds”

Alternative titles for this post:

Bessie the Bed Thief

My Dog Makes No Sense

My Incredibly Creative, Very Obsessive Dog

Since, it’s Friday (YIPPPEEEE!) I was feeling a very lighthearted post for today. I personally love when I get a little sneak peak into a blogger’s life, so I thought it would be fun to share one of the things that makes Travis and me laugh constantly around here.

Bessie has this thing where she likes to lay on ANYTHING that we put on the ground. Suitcases, Ikea bags, clothing, dirty laundry (ew, I know), you name it – she sleeps there.

Let’s get this straight, though. Bessie has some pretty damn comfortable beds. In fact, she LOVES her beds, but she also really loves making new ones.

I was inspired to write this post when Travis and I discovered her like this yesterday morning:

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

She had pulled the blanket off of our bed and placed it partially on top of her bed. Her back was resting up against a hard part of our bed frame, so there was no way that this could have been comfortable for her, but she stayed here for a solid hour. Total. Weirdo.

But you guys, this isn’t anything new.

Please excuse the incredibly blurry photo, but this is the day it all started two years ago. Travis came home, dropped his backpack on the floor and all of a sudden Bessie we saw Bessie leave her cozy bed to go lay on Travis’s bag. With a laptop inside, that backpack really couldn’t have been that comfortable, but…to each her own?

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Then there’s the time we got a big new Mac computer and Bessie decided that the cardboard box it came in would be her new hideout for the next few hours.

Forts are cool, I guess?

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Sometimes it’s clothes, though. Do you guys remember this photo? It was the time I was trying to photograph some stuff for the blog and Bessie just had to be the center of attention.

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This dog is also obsessed with warm laundry out of the dryer.

Okay, honestly, I don’t blame her for this one. Laying in a pile of warm laundry on a chilly night might just be the best feeling ever.

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

What’s not convenient, though, is the persistence to lay on top of clean clothes while we fold. Bessie I love you and all, but…dog hair.

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

And getting dressed in the morning can sometimes take a little longer than usual. If I pull my sweater box out from underneath the bed, I can almost guarantee that she’ll climb in it.

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

It’s the dirty laundry I don’t get it. If I sort laundry on the floor and walk away for a little bit she’ll make a new bed for herself.

Because what smells better than sweaty gym clothes, amiright!?

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Okay people, here is my favorite.

Whenever we pack for trips or come back from a trip and begin to unpack, our suitcases become automatic beds.

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The first time Bessie did this to Travis we thought, “Aww that’s so sweet! She missed you!”

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

But then she continued to lay in the suitcases even after they had been emptied…

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.comBessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Oh, and don’t even get me started on trying to pack for a trip. Here’s a photo from last summer just after I had packed my suitcase for our trip to England. I spent a solid hour trying to pack all of my clothes for eight days into a carry-on suitcase. It was a serious struggle, but I did it.

When I was done, I stepped away for no more than two minutes to grab something from the other room, but when I came back into the bedroom, somehow all of my clothes were unfolded and jumbled up in my suitcase. I think we can all assume who the culprit was here.

And I mean I get it. She’s probably thinking, “You’re not going anywhere without me this time, Mommy!”

I definitely am sympathetic, but you’ve gotta admit that she’s totally nutso!

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

But it’s not just our stuff that Bessie selects as a new bed. Whenever we dog sit our friends’ dogs, Bessie loves to “test out” their beds. I guess she’s a girl who likes her options?

Bessie’s doggie friends sure are accommodating, though! Take a look:

Exhibit A: Not Bessie’s bed.

(Sorry Woody!)

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Exhibit B: Not Bessie’s bed.

(Sorry Sammy!)

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Exhibit C: Not Bessie’s bed.

(Sorry Bailey!)

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Exhibit D: CLEARLY not Bessie’s bed.

(We’re really sorry, Benny. You sure were nice to let her borrow your big king-sized bed, though.)

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I really hope that doesn’t make you think Bessie is selfish, because she’s far from it. Travis and I joke that she really just likes “testing out” other dog beds. And besides, if it’s in our house she might genuinely think it’s for her.

In the end, Bessie just wants to be part of all of the activity.

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

She loves us unconditionally and if something smells like us, she’ll likely take it and lay on it because she is an absolute love machine.

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

And as much as we poke fun at her bizarre tendencies, we love our little happy girl so, so much.

Bessie and Her Many Beds l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The end!

 

Life Lately

An October Photo Dump

Oh mannnnnnn where has this month gone? October has been so busy for me.

– We’ve had a ton of visitors

– We had an ant infestation in our apartment (don’t even get me started on this one…)

– I’ve been working a lot

– I had an eye infection + Travis was really sick. Bleh!

– And it’s been ridiculously hot in Los Angeles.

Travis and I both feel as though we haven’t been very healthy the past month and we’re looking forward to getting back on track together. Because it’s been so hot in our apartment, we haven’t cooked as much as we usually do, which means a lot of take-out. While we try to get “healthier” take-out, it’s still not as clean as when we cook ourselves. Also, when we have visitors, we tend to eat out (and drink) much more than usual. And on top of it all, since both of us have had our share of illnesses, we haven’t been able to hit the gym as frequently.

This past weekend we did a BIG grocery run at Whole Foods and stocked up on lots of healthy meals and snacks for the week. We’re both looking forward to cooking more and we’re pushing each other to go to the gym every morning before work.

Whole Foods

To get this Monday rollin’ I am going to share a big old photo dump of recent pics from my iPhone.

Let’s go!

Travis dressed Bessie up to root for the Yankees in their last game. Sadly (for Travis), her jersey didn’t do much to help the team. Bessie has the same attitude towards sports as I do… she wasn’t even facing the TV the entire game.

Bessie

October in LA has been unbearably hot for everyone. It’s been 90+ degrees a majority of the time and all of us are wondering where the heck fall is. The mornings have been the best time to exercise because the temps are cooler. I’ve been lucky to catch some AWESOME photos of sunrises along the beach like this one.

Santa Monica

We’ve had a lot of events at work lately. On this particular day, I was photographing (and taste-testing!) new seasonal cocktails.

CHAYA Downtown Cocktail

My favorite twins (Liz and Becky) in town from the East coast last weekend! We rowed together in high-school and college (well, they rowed and I was their coxswain). Now that I live across the country, it’s rare I get to see them, so I was reaaaaaally excited for their visit. We had an awesome weekend together and packed so much into just three days. One highlight was sitting at the bar at Wally’s in Beverly Hills and tasting lots of awesome wines.

Friends in LA

On the Sunday of their visit, we took a road trip down the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway).

Friends in LA

…And hopped out somewhere in Malibu to snap a photo together.

Friends in LA

The next day my parents were in town! YAY! YAY!

I took them to lunch at CHAYA Downtown Los Angeles (one of the restaurants for which I work). They both loved their meals and it was a blast “taking them to work” with me.

Mom and Dad in LA

My current favorite item on the menu at work: Salmon with Caper-Tomato Salsa, Lotus Chips, and an Arugula Salad. I could eat this every day. So flavorful and light.

Salmon at CHAYA Downtown

This weekend Travis and I INTENDED to lay low because everything’s been so busy, but I guess that wasn’t really in the cards.

We ended up doing a lot of stuff around the house: laundry, meal prep…and in Trav’s case, building a new desk.

Travis Desk

(Which he was very proud of).

TJ Maxx

Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with TJ Maxx. I buy everything there: clothing, accessories, suitcases, home decor, dog beds, kitchen equipment, everything. The closest TJ Maxx is only 3 blocks from our apartment (YIPPPEEEE!), so I constantly pop in to see what’s new in stock. On Sunday I was in search of decorative storage options for our apartment.

I walked home with the most massive bag of stuff, which looked a tad ridiculous because I am so petite. I definitely counted that as my second workout for the day.

Bessie

A few months ago, I talked about Bessie’s egg bed and how she was obsessed with it. Unfortunately, it was recently torn in the washing machine, so I had to get a new one.

When I last posted about this bed, it was ridiculously priced on Amazon, but it’s since gone waaaaay down, so we bought a new one. For the record, we found the first one at TJ Maxx for only $19.99 (No I am not a TJ Maxx Brand Ambassador, but hey, if they’re reading this then YES I LOVE YOU!).

Dog owners – you seriously HAVE to get this bed. Your pup will thank you.

 

So now you’re all caught up! I hope you guys have a great Monday. I will see you later this week with a brand new recipe 😉

Life Lately

Recipes that Didn’t Make it.

Going to be 100% real right now. I make and photograph a lot of recipes that don’t make it to the blog. Why? Because not everything comes out as delicious and beautiful as I would hope. I sometimes spend hours cooking and photographing food that ends up tasting bland or frankly, disgusting.

Thank goodness for my trusty taste-tester, Travis, who can be honest with me about whether or not a recipe is blog-worthy.

I thought it would be fun to share some photos of recent “recipe failures” so you could see a different side of what goes on in my kitchen. So, without further ado, welcome to the gallery of recipes that didn’t make it to the blog!

 

Sweet and Sour Carrots

I am not exactly sure what happened with these carrots because a whole lot of delicious ingredients went into this recipe, but the end result was incredibly boring. If a side dish is going to take you a good 45 minutes to make, it better be worth it. Am I right!?

Sweet and Sour Carrots

 

Gluten-Free Brownies

I had high hopes for these brownies. I used PB2 instead of flour, hoping that I was onto a delicious gluten-free breakthrough. Unfortunately, even after cooling in the pan for hours, these brownies were SO sticky. After I attempted to cut them into clean squares, it looked like a tornado hit the pan.

These three little squares were the cleanest cuts I was able to get. The perfectionist in me was screaming! So even though these gluten-free brownies tasted great, I wasn’t about to post something that didn’t look like bake-sale perfection.

Healthy Brownies

 

Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

Let me start by saying that I LOVE this recipe. Like LOVE. So does Travis. We’ve made it one million times. But, when I finally went to photograph it for the blog, the auto-focus on my camera stopped working. Every photo was a blurry mess. #FAIL.

Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

Now that my camera is up and running again, I’ve been meaning to remake this for you guys. Maybe this weekend?

 

Frozen Greek Yogurt Bark

I’ve seen a bunch of recipes for yogurt bark on Instagram, so I decided to have a go at it myself. I must have seriously missed something with this one, because my yogurt bark turned out terribly. The bark was all crackly, plus one minute it was rock-solid and next it was a melty mess. What a disaster!

Yogurt bark masters out there, what the heck did I do wrong?

Greek Yogurt Bark

There you have it! As you can see, not everything turns out like rainbows and butterflies around here. It’s all about experimentation.

 

What about you? Any funny cooking disasters you want to share? But actually. Please share and make me feel better…

Life Lately

Weekend Recap

Hello friends! How was your weekend? Mine was great! We had plans to go away for a short trip, but our plans changed at the last minute.

It ended up being fine because we had an activity-packed non-stop weekend!

Friday night neither of us felt like cooking, so after 20 minutes of debating what to eat, we decided to head to The Misfit, our favorite local restaurant. We started our meal with a couple of drinks off the happy hour menu and then defaulted to a few of our favorite menu items.
The Misfit Santa Monica

Saturday morning Bessie woke me up VERY early by licking my face. I rolled over to find that she had stuck herself between our pillows, with her butt on Travis’ pillow. What a nut.

Snuggles

Saturday morning, after our respective workouts, we showered and headed to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Neither of us had been before and it’s been on our LA bucket list for quite some time.

LACMA

I am fairly certain my favorite exhibit was designed for children, but I was in awe. “Metropolis” was made up of many different “roads” and “buildings” designed to look like a city. Hundreds of tiny toy cars were speeding through the streets and it seriously looked like a miniaturized city. It was an amazing site to see!

LACMA

That night, we had dinner reservations at one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Tagine. We were last there for our anniversary back in January, so I was REALLY excited to go back.

Tagine Restaurant

I will spare you the REALLY dark and grainy restaurant photos I tried to take. Total fail – but the meal was incredible as always. I am in love with this 12-table restaurant.

 

Sunday morning I was SO productive. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am quite Type A and have trouble sitting doing nothing. I was on a “get stuff done” rampage starting at 6:45AM Sunday morning (I know, god help me) – which consisted of doing ALL the laundry and cleaning out my closet. I felt so accomplished when it was finished. I packed up a big bag of clothes to sell online through ThredUp (affiliate link).

In the afternoon, we headed to Los Liones Canyon for a short hike. Travis brought his GoPro to film our trek and we were both psyched to see this incredible view as we neared the top.

Los Liones Hike

When we got home from hiking, I was starving and devoured this bowl of Kashi cereal is less than one minute.

Kashi Heart to Heart

The rest of our lunch consisted of homemade turkey burgers cooked on the grill pan. So yummy!

I made a conscious effort to put my phone away after that, so this is where my photos end! Later that day we got massages (I told you it was a great weekend!), cooked dinner at home, and saw Trainwreck (which I loved!).

 

What was one highlight from your weekend? Have you seen Trainwreck yet?

Life Lately

Friday Photo Dump

Hi there! Happy Friday! We made it!

I am popping in this gorgeous Friday to share a recent photo dump. I am constantly snapping photos on my iPhone, but so many of them never make it to social media or my blog. So without further ado, here are a few very random photos I snapped throughout the last week!

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We took Bessie with us to New Jersey last weekend. When we go away, we typically leave her with friends, but this time since we were just staying at Travis’ house (rather than a hotel) we knew bringing Bessie wouldn’t be a problem. She’d flown once before with Travis last Thanksgiving, but traveling with a pet was new to me! I am proud to say that our little Bessie was an angel on both flights. We gave her half a Benadryl to make her drowsy, and that definitely helped. Towards the beginning of the flight, all she wanted to do was poke her head out and take everything in. It was adorable. We also lucked out that both women we sat next to on each flight were dog lovers, so they didn’t mind when I kept Bessie out on my lap.

Bessie United Airlines

The Sunday of our trip, we took NJ Transit into NYC to meet up with Travis’ siblings for dinner. We had plans to meet at ABC Kitchen (I was SO excited to finally try this place after hearing rave reviews from all my friends who live in the city). On our walk over to the restaurant, I stopped in front of a building that looked somewhat rundown, but very rustic, and said to Travis, “I LOVE that building! I would want to turn it into a restaurant.”

Well, lo and behold, that storefront was actually ABC Kitchen – it just had very minimal signage! Looks like someone had the same idea as me.

ABC Kitchen NYC

Our meal was INCREDIBLE. I tried the pizza, fried chicken and salmon. I honestly can’t decide which dish was my favorite. I wanted to eat #ALLTHEFOOD.

Dinner ABC Kitchen NYC

Given my obsession with Eataly, we had to stop at the NYC location again because it was walking distance from ABC Kitchen. I loved this sign they had right in the main entrance. We were in NYC the Sunday after the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage, so the city was celebrating in full swing. I couldn’t get over these adorable pasta people – go Eataly!

EATALY NYC Pride

Fast forward a little less than a week was my friend Paget’s (in the middle!) birthday in Hollywood! I love Kelly and Paget so much – I have no clue what I would do without these two ladies in Los Angeles.

Paget's Birthday

On Saturday, July 4th, we BBQ’d at home. Afterwards all I wanted was ice cream. I NEVER eat ice cream because I am semi-lactose intolerant, but I was having a serious craving. Travis and I went to Beachy Cream up the street because I knew had dairy-free ice cream.

To make it even better, Beachy Cream even had FREE doggy fro-yo, so of course I grabbed a cup for Bessie. At first she didn’t know what to make of it, but when she finally got in there, she looooooved it. I had to take it away from her before she devoured it all. Sorry Bess!

Doggy Fro-Yo

I couldn’t help stopping to take in the scenery during my run yesterday morning. I was jogging on the path overlooking Santa Monica Beach and I was amazed by how calm and peaceful the beach looked. There wasn’t a soul in sight (not even any surfers that I could see). We gotta appreciate what’s around us, right?

Santa Monica Beach

 

That’s it from me! I hope you have a great weekend and I will see you early next week with some delicious new recipes!

Life Lately

Memorial Day Weekend in Numbers

Hello! How was your long weekend? Mine was an absolute blast, filled with friends and delicious food.

I haven’t done a weekend in numbers post in awhile, so I thought it would be a fun way to round up the weekend.

 

2: Inches cut off my hair on Friday. I was in desperate need of a haircut and I feel so much better (and lighter!) now. Erin, my hair stylist, has the sweetest dog, Gracie, who she sometimes brings to the salon. Gracie recently stayed with us when Erin went out of town, so she was especially excited to see me on Friday, knowing that I would rub her belly nonstop.

Gracie

 

3: Slices of Stella Barra Margherita Pizza I ate on Friday night. This was the perfect way to kick off the long weekend! Not pictured: a shared arugula salad, glasses of rose, and the MASSIVE chocolate chip cookie that Travis bought me after the meal. My tummy was quite content.

Pizza

 

12: (approximate) number of times I told Travis to throw out this grey t-shirt over the years we’ve been dating. He’s had it since high school, but insisted on keeping it (despite the massive holes) because it was incredibly soft. Saturday morning he finally gave in to my wishes and agreed to get rid of it. He then proceeded to tear the shirt into shreds…which we both found way too amusing.

Shirt

Any other ladies out there have to convince their guys to get rid of old clothing? What is it that makes them so darn attached?

 

2: Bottles of champagne consumed by four of us ladies during brunch on Saturday morning. We went to Courtyard Kitchen in Santa Monica (which I’ve mentioned plenty of times on the blog), and I finally took advantage of their BYOB option (no corkage fee!). We all loved our meals and we had SO MUCH FUN together!

Brunch

 

20: Minutes waited in line to get into The Bungalow in Santa Monica after brunch. I’d say this was a record because sometimes it can take up to two hours! Personally, I could never wait that long to go anywhere, so I was glad our group decided to get there early to hop on line before the masses.

The Bungalow

 

1: Matcha Green Tea Latte made by me on Monday afternoon. It was my first time making one at home and it was a great afternoon pick-me-up.

Matcha Green Tea

 

1/4: Pound burger grilled on Monday evening. I ate my burger on a gluten-free bun with caramelized onions, homemade date ketchup and guacamole. We also enjoyed some charred broccoli and pinot noir on the side. What a perfect way to cap off such a fun weekend!

Burger

 

How was your MDW? Did you grill? Tell me one delicious thing you ate!

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