Santa Monica & Malibu

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetLast weekend my mom and I snuck away to the best coast for a girly getaway. Santa Monica and Malibu are two of our most favorite places in the world, and while we love exploring new spots, sometimes it’s so comforting and relaxing to revisit an old haunt. We both agreed that we love doing this because even though there’s always new sights to see and restaurants to try in LA, we don’t feel pressured to do anything new because we’ve already been to the city so many times. It truly feels like home at this point (and it was my home for five whole years), so coming back for a relaxed weekend was an absolutely perfect plan.

IMG_2361We checked into our favorite hotel in Santa Monica on Thursday night and we were feeling a bit worn out after a few travel delays, so we cozied up in our plush robes and ordered one of our favorite treats, the famous salad pizza from Abbot’s Pizza Company. Topped with greens, feta, vinaigrette, and the ripest avocados (and accompanied by the most delectable spicy sauce), this pizza is such a special culinary experience.

IMG_2374We both woke up super early on Friday morning thanks to the time change (a daily occurrence for Mom, a rarity for me) so we lingered over breakfast by the pool, enjoying eggs and crispy potatoes with caramelized onions and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and New York-style bagels and grapefruit that tasted better than candy. We headed out for a long walk on the beach – the weather was truly perfect and I am always so inspired by the nature and colors on the best coast. It was such a great way to kick off our first day.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetAfterwards, we took a beautiful drive north on Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu, the city that stole my heart 12 (!!) years ago when I started college at Pepperdine University. Our first stop was cult favorite Lily’s for the best breakfast burritos (appropriate to eat during any time of day) that you will ever have in your life. They’re made with refried beans, scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheese and they’re wrapped in the softest flour tortilla known to mankind. The burritos are served with the most delicious spicy green sauce and a mild red salsa. The flavors are just amazing. We needed another long walk after such a delectable treat so we headed to Westward Beach to watch the (huge!) waves and stick our toes in the sand. It was heavenly. As an added bonus, we popped over to my gorgeous alma mater, Pepperdine, to hike around the campus (and if you have ever been to Pepperdine, you understand why I’m using the word hike) and take in some gorgeous views of the ocean. We capped off our Malibu day with frozen yogurt before heading back to Santa Monica.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_2408 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_2416Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetEven though we had intended for our weekend to be a girls getaway, of course we couldn’t exclude brother-bestie Andrew, who lives in LA. He met us for dinner at cute, cute Pono Burger (I just salivated thinking about their fries + dipping sauce) before we all crashed at the hotel for the night.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_2477 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetOn Saturday we had a super fun and inspiring outing at The Broad, LA’s newest contemporary art museum. Curated and financed by the Broad family, this gorgeous museum is free to the public. You do have to reserve tickets in advance, but Andrew was able to score some from a friend who was no longer able to use his. Truly, this museum is the most perfectly curated space I have ever seen. I really do love most modern art, and the collection The Broad has is so interesting and amazingly displayed. My favorite pieces were every sculpture by Jeff Koons, the mind-blowing Infinity Room, and the hauntingly beautiful “Visitors” video installation by Ragnar Kjartansson (those vocal harmonies!). A note for potential visitors: we had to sign up to get a spot in line to go into the Infinity Room, as each person gets to go in alone for 45 seconds, making it take nearly an eternity to earn your turn. Our estimated wait time was legitimately five hours, so we thought we would just skip it. We ended up heading out for a quick Parisian-inspired lunch at Pitchoun Bakery and as we were finishing up, we got a text message that our turn was coming up two hours earlier than anticipated! Since The Broad kindly allows visitors to exit and reenter the museum, it was no problem to hop back in to take advantage of our time in the special exhibit. I wished I had 45 minutes to spend inside of it instead of 45 seconds, but the experience was so neat nonetheless.

IMG_2453 IMG_2553 IMG_2499 IMG_2471 IMG_2488 IMG_2451 IMG_2558Afterwards we retired at our beloved hotel for the night. Mom and I caught the sunset and we all agreed that, even though Mom and I had just enjoyed salad pizza two nights prior, it was in the cards for us as we planned on having a low-key evening in. We watched The Martian (I loved it!) and noshed on our pizza before drifting off to dreamland.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOn Sunday Andrew had an early soccer game so he snuck out before I was awake. It was really rainy and windy, so Mom and I had breakfast at the hotel and then I curled back up in bed to read for two hours (I was so sucked into Room that I couldn’t put it down). When the weather started to clear a pinch, we headed to Abbot Kinney, one of our favorite parts of Venice. We put our name in for lunch at The Butcher’s Daughter and had an hour to spare. We sought refuge from the rain at Salt & Straw for the creamiest ice cream (dessert first, right) and we perused the TOMS store (now I want these and these), Cuyana, and lots of pretty home decor stores. Our meal at The Butcher’s Daughter was impeccable (cauliflower grits with cheddar cheese and mushrooms, the best ever avocado eggs benedict, green juice, the tastiest flat white) and the interior design was so inspiring – I wanted the staff to come make over my house!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset It was time for me to head home to Dallas after that. The weekend felt too short, as usual, but it also felt packed with so much love, delectable food, memory-making, and time with the best mom and brother in the whole wide world. I am grateful!

 

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Lake Tulloch

IMG_8154Happy Labor Day Weekend! We are jetting back to the best coast to spend the long weekend at Lake Tulloch, one of our most favorite places in the world. Karli’s family owns the most gorgeous lake house in northern California, so our core of best friends from college and our spouses gathers there annually to soak up the sun and play in the water together. We always have the most perfect time, so I’m counting down the seconds until we arrive! Enjoy some photos from our last trip, and have a wonderful weekend!

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Week & End

tumblr_n3n73wHzYe1s79rl8o1_1280Happy Friday from the best coast! A full recap of my time in California will come soon, but for now, enjoy some fun links! Have a great weekend.

I loved this wine & food pairings post. My favorite combination is one that James and I enjoy frequently – macaroni & cheese + Chardonnay!

I adore all things Clare Vivier, so I really enjoyed this tour of her Los Angeles studio. Isn’t it gorgeous? It also makes me want to add several more bags to my ever-growing collection, stat.

I’ve recently been learning more about Paul Quinn College, a school based in Dallas, and it was neat to see Michael Sorrell featured in this list of America’s ten most innovative college presidents. The school’s vision, as summed up in the piece, is so fascinating:

“[Sorrell] disbanded the football team, no easy task in Dallas, and literally turned the field into a farm. The team had been costing $600,000 a year, according to Yahoo Sports, and Sorrell said it would have cost $2 million to save. The farm is operated by students (who are paid for their work), and the resulting produce is sold to local grocers and restaurants, used at the college, or donated to local charities. Students aren’t just picking vegetables—they’re working on the business end, too, getting paid professional experience with a service twist. It’s all part of Sorrell’s vision for what he calls the “New Urban College Model”—a work school that emphasizes local businesses rather than manual labor (like at rural counterparts).”

This post totally affirmed my belief in never washing my jeans. Hurray!

This book keeps popping up everywhere and I’m totally drawn in by the premise: the author cooks her way through recipes featured in wonderful books (think everything from The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Gone Girl). It’s a combination of two of my favorite things – reading & cooking – and while I super love using my library card to check out books, this title might just be one that I have to purchase.

Image via Topo Designs

Los Angeles & The Yellow Conference

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetI am so excited to be heading back to the best coast again today – I’ve been there every month since May, how lucky is that?!

Remember last year when I dreamed of attending the Yellow Conference? Lauren and I put our heads together in January and started setting the wheels in motion for both of us to attend the event. We bought our tickets, booked our flights, and time flew by as we giddily anticipated our adventure together. I can’t believe the conference is here already! We leave for Los Angeles this afternoon and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re staying at the Ace Hotel, and we’re hoping to enjoy a delicious dinner at one of my favorite spots in Koreatown, The Commissary at the Line Hotel, after we arrive tonight.

Over the weekend, I’m going to stay with Andrew. He’s hosting a cocktail fundraiser party to benefit Touch A Life on Saturday evening, which is going to be so fun! I’m stoked that I get to spend good quality time with him while I’m in his neck of the woods.

Happy Wednesday, and enjoy the rest of your week!

Photo from Becca’s bachelorette weekend in Malibu in June…more pictures to come!

The Best Coast

The Best Coast

James & I got home from Los Angeles late last night and I’ve been mourning our departure from the best coast ever since. I absolutely love visiting California, and I get especially sentimental when I spend time in L.A. I lived in Malibu for four years during college and in nearby Santa Monica for one year after I graduated, and I made so many irreplaceable memories in those cities. I met my best friends in those places, and I faced some of my most formative experiences on that coast. And don’t even get me started on the amazing scenery. The ocean is truly restorative to my soul. When I’m on the best coast, I love nothing more than sitting outside and relaxing near the water, pondering life (and, okay, sometimes dozing off). There’s something about the expanse of the ocean that is simultaneously profound, inspiring, and relaxing. If I’m being honest, I feel closest to God when I’m near water – the ocean just has a spiritual impact on me me.

Anyway, you get the idea – I love the ocean. And the West (or, in my opinion, best) Coast A LOT. Coming next – a recap from our amazing weekend together in Los Angeles!