Yup!  Get to it, people!

Yup! Get to it, people!

There are perks to getting to the airport early, I guess!  Glass of wine, Jets game on TV and sitting at a Giants decorated table. Not too shabby. (Taken with Instagram at Home Turf Sports Bar)

There are perks to getting to the airport early, I guess! Glass of wine, Jets game on TV and sitting at a Giants decorated table. Not too shabby. (Taken with Instagram at Home Turf Sports Bar)

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
James A. Baldwin
There’s nothing more important in this life than friends.  Here’s me spelling LOVE with my LOVES on a LOVELY rooftop overlooking the city that I LOVE.  that’s a whole lotta lovin’ goin’ on.  xoxo

There’s nothing more important in this life than friends.  Here’s me spelling LOVE with my LOVES on a LOVELY rooftop overlooking the city that I LOVE.  that’s a whole lotta lovin’ goin’ on.  xoxo

// Resolutions..//

I don’t like the official idea of a New Years Resolution, so I made more of a 2012 “goal”, or mini bucket list, if you will.  My idea was to face as many fears as possible, try as many new things as I can and explore every single opportunity that came my way (except for things that would terrify me to the point of death such as sky diving, bungee jumping or anything else that involves free falling to the ground below.  Call me crazy, but I’m 100% okay going to my grave without ever having jumped out of, or off of, anything higher than 10 feet or so.)

Sooo yesterday, my wonderful (and very patient) boyfriend took me out for my very first surfing lesson!  This has been a dream of mine forever, and a major reason I wanted to move to California.  A few bumps and bruises, a fairly sore head (from getting smacked in the face with the board) and a few big gulps of salt water later and I can’t wait to get out there again!!  I’ll never forget this day and am beyond excited to check off another new experience this year.

Tonight brings a trip to the Planetarium at Griffith Park Observatory followed by a picnic/star party in the Park with great friends to watch NASA’s new rover, Curiosity, land on Mars. Perfect end to a perfect weekend. I don’t ever want Monday to arrive.

// Taste Sensations..//

-4

What better way to celebrate the end of a fantastic camping trip than to pop open a bottle of wine we bought along the way and make not one, but two favourite dishes?!

K and I couldn’t decide between his dad’s famous family chili (which we altered to make vegetarian style and it was still beyond delicious) and my newest halloumi cheese creation so we made both!  We got a bit ahead of ourselves and couldn’t finish - but, hey! - that’s the beauty of leftovers, ain’t it?

The chili was amazing but the Madsen family refuses to spill their secret recipe to me, so you’ll have to settle with this little Cypriot creation.  I’m telling you guys, if you haven’t had Halloumi yet, you’re missing out.  It’s a Greek Cypriot cheese and it’s made for throwing on the grill.  It tastes incredible and salty and is great hot or cold, grilled or fried.  They carry it at Greek and Middle Eastern specialty shops, and sometimes you can track it down at Whole Foods.

Now, on to the recipe!  FYI:  It’s incredibly easy, this entire process can take less than 5 minutes from fridge to plate!

-3

Ingredients:

*1 package Halloumi Cheese (make sure its imported from Cyprus for the best taste)

*Fresh Pomegranate Seeds

*Fresh Mint Leaves

*Pomegranate Molasses (also tricky to find, I picked mine up in a Middle Eastern specialty shop)

*Flour and a pinch of oil

Serves: 2, Total Time to Make: About 5 min.

Step 1:

Cut your block of Halloumi into little ‘steaks’.  I cut my slices about 1/4 inch thick.

Step 2:

I fried my Halloumi, but you don’t have to.  We did it this way because we’d had it plain grilled last time.  You can toss it in a pan with a little cooking spray if you’re looking for a slightly healthier option, or literally stick it on your outside grill, straight on the rack.

For this version, take the Halloumi slices (which will be a little wet already) and coat them in flour.  Toss each slice into an oiled (or sprayed) frying pan until golden brown and a little crispy, flip, brown the other side and remove from the pan before they burn.

The cheese should be a nice toasty brown colour on the ends but still soft in the middle, you can leave it on longer if you prefer a more crunchy dinner. :)

(It’s honestly very hard to screw this up.  The whole grilling process takes about a minute and 30 seconds so keep an eye on it and you’re good.)

Step 3:

Once your Halloumi is fried up and on the plate, drizzle the Pomegranate Molasses over the top to taste.  Then garnish with fresh Pom seeds and sprigs of Mint.  That’s it!!  I recommend eating it while it’s still hot, but it’s good either way.

This could probably work as an appetizer but it filled us up pretty fast!

Serve with a lovely one of a kind Reisling that you bought from a beautiful private winery.. YUM.

-1

// Expeditions..//

-1

Guys - I think I might make the drastic decision to leave my comfy house in the city and live in a tent forever.  Surrounded by nothing but stars, mountains and adorable animals.  I’m serious.

So, I’m a couple of weeks late on this post, but life has been hectic, ya’ll!

The weekend of the 13th, my handsome fella and I took a “Planned No Plan Camping Trip” up North.  We just took off.  K had finished up his latest TV show the previous Tuesday, so it was perfect timing.  Thanks to the wonderful folks at Klout we had also secured a completely free 3 day rental of a Chevy Volt.  So, Friday (the 13th!) night we hopped in our borrowed space shuttle (seriously, though, it sounds like a robot in a totally awesome way), went to an amazing live performance of "A Prairie Home Companion" at the historic Hollywood Bowl, drank some (okay, a lot of) wine, took what you could call a cat nap and hit the road bright and early the next morning.

-2

We had NO idea where to go, so we grabbed a Starbucks, hopped on the PCH and just drove North.  There is nothing better than having plans to have no plans.  I mean, I’ve never had a better time.  We stopped off in Morrow Bay, visited Montana de Oro National Park, met a few locals, had some lunch on the water, headed up to San Simeon to see the amazingly bizarre and gigantic elephant seals and then headed inland to Santa Margarita Lake to set up camp.  The next day we went for a swim in Lake Lopez, took a nap in the sunshine, visited a wonderful winery called Cottonwood Canyon (absolutely perfect tasting and cave tour with amazing views - highly recommended), ate an authentic Danish dinner at The Red Viking Restaurant in Solvang and wandered - as slowly as possible - down the PCH back towards Los Angeles.

-3

I’ll spare you the billion details, but if you ever ask me about it I could talk for hours.  We did so many fantastic things in two days, it’s unbelievable, but because we didn’t have a plan or timetable, we never felt stressed or rushed.  I would suggest the No Plan Plan to anyone!  Oh, and I’d suggest stars, too.  Did you guys know that you can see a blanket of stars that will stop your heart they’re so beautiful?  I know, right?  Get your butts out of the city lights once in a while.  It’s worth it.  And the whole trip cost us maybe $100 each, tops.  So it’s budget friendly.  Oh, and the Chevy Volt?  600 miles on one tank of gas.  If I had an extra 40k to spend, I’d never have given that car back.  Sorry, Yaris. ;)

Watching tonight’s episode of “Girls”, drinking tea and g-chatting with my boyfriend. Perfect Sunday night.

Watching tonight’s episode of “Girls”, drinking tea and g-chatting with my boyfriend. Perfect Sunday night.

Happy 86th Birthday, Norma Jean!  (God, I love her.)

Happy 86th Birthday, Norma Jean!  (God, I love her.)

Lately..I find myself so happy that I think my face might explode from smiles. It’s awesome. ;)

// Generations..//

Today, I walked past a girl that looked just like me when I was in middle-school.  Spitting image.  Slightly frizzy, awkward length brown hair that looked like she might have tried an ill-advised Sun-In experiment last summer.  A chubby tummy underneath a too big white concert t-shirt, tucked into belted jean shorts that were surely a gift from her mom.  Jewelry that she thinks is funky but will definitely giggle at in photos in a few years time.  And a giant smile on her olive hued face because she’s the happiest she’ll probably ever be.  I instantly fell in love with this kid.  I wanted to hug her and squeeze her and become some sort of crazy stranger best friend.  But her dad was big, just like mine was, so I kept walking.  If I ever see her again, though, I’ll hold back on the hugs but I’ll make sure to stop her for a moment to tell her she’s beautiful. :)

______________________________________________________________________________________

Me and my pops, sometime in the horribly awkward 90’s.. Mood ring and all. ;)

Me, about age 14

Congratulations on your seemingly never ending pregnancy, Jessica Simpson!  (haha I love my convos with this girl more than life)

Congratulations on your seemingly never ending pregnancy, Jessica Simpson! (haha I love my convos with this girl more than life)

my-cavanaugh-park:

I mean what can I even say but this is why I love this girl.

In case you guys were wondering what sort of high school-era music cocktail turned me into the crazy person I am today..here it is! (Side note: Portia and I have the worlds best and most entertaining text conversations ever. We’re awesome.)

my-cavanaugh-park:

I mean what can I even say but this is why I love this girl.

In case you guys were wondering what sort of high school-era music cocktail turned me into the crazy person I am today..here it is! (Side note: Portia and I have the worlds best and most entertaining text conversations ever. We’re awesome.)

You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.
"We Bought A Zoo" - heard this line and had to write it down. 20 seconds of courage worked for me. Hard to do but worth the end result. So happy. <3 <3. Thanks to the wonderful Kate P for inspiring my 20 seconds when I needed the push. Love.
Just a girl surrounded by the best crazy people in the universe.