Cross Country

Well the leaves are starting to change, the temperature is starting to drop (it may still be 79 degrees but that’s a drop) and that can only mean that Summer is coming to an end. Although the change in LA isn’t near as dramatic as Fall back home in Iowa, it still brings a new energy that I find inspiring and fuels me to start something new. In preparation for that change, I have one final chapter to my Summer Scroll Through and the granddaddy story of them all Emory and I’s big cross country adventure. 

When it comes to traveling, I must admit I’m one who prefers to jump on a plane and be at my destination in a fraction of the time.  However, a cross country road trip adventure has always just sounded so romantic and exciting. Emory is not stranger from driving from Iowa to LA usually making the trip all on his own.  I knew I couldn’t make him drive back again by himself. Plus, I had never really seen much of what’s between California and Iowa. Both of these factors inspired me to tag along for the ride, but I had a few ground rules of course! 

  1. I wasn’t willing to sleep in the car (Air BnB please!)
  2. I didn’t want to drive straight there. 

So, we decided to make a vacation out of it—five and a half days’ worth of driving and exploring from Los Angeles to Iowa. Knowing we would be traveling in the middle of August (the hottest month) we decided to forego Emory’s typical route through all the National Parks and head North then cut over.

Half Day: 

We left after work and headed up the coast towards the Bay Area. We decided to take the scenic route (about 7 hours) and drive up the coast and the PCH and recreate our earlier Summer adventure. The drive was beautiful as always and traffic could have been a lot worse. Taking this route did add and additional 1-2 hours than the inland trip would have but we would argue it was worth it. If you find yourself making the drive DON’T stop for gas in Santa Barbra (take our word for it) and DO stop for food in San Luis Obispo (we stopped at Mo’s Barbecue this time.) We finally got to San Francisco late and completely exhausted. We stayed in a boutique hotel we rented via Air BNB called The Bartlett. It was super cute and trendy, however not the cleanest nor friendliest staff. All things considered though when you take into account, we were staying in one of the most expensive cities, we weren’t complaining. 

Day One: 

We headed out about 9:00 am the next morning on a journey to squeeze as much of San Francisco in in a day as we could. Emory had already been, but it was my first time. We headed down to Fisherman’s Warf and grabbed beignets and cappuccinos for breakfast at Frankie’s at Pier 43. Oh my goodness though, people were eating fish and chips that early in the morning, but it actually looked and smelled incredible. So much in fact we went back to Frankie’s for lunch! Not only was it affordable but they claim to have the best fish and they’re right. I have a feeling this place will be a staple anytime I find myself in SF! 

After breakfast we caught a street performer act and walked through the Musse Mecanique, the antique penny arcade. Grandma predicted my fortune, we walked down Pier 39, got a great view of Alcatraz (which I didn’t realize was so close by the way) as well as a great view looking back at the city. After watching the seals, we decided it was time to go find the main attraction, the Golden Gate Bridge, at Crissy Field. 

Immediately as we got close to the bridge the most perfect sunny day transitioned to foggy, misty, and overcast like magic! We pulled over, snapped a few pictures and continued on our way.  Before leaving the bay area, we checked out Muir Woods, which was even foggier and cloudier! After a close run in with poison oak we decided we didn’t have time for a hike and instead just enjoyed the view. Look what we found?! Another Hawkeye fan with a Subaru… What are the chances?!

Back in the car for the next leg of the journey! We left around 3:30 in the afternoon driving from Muir Woods to Lake Tahoe.  Four hours’ drive through winding mountains, an incredibly bad traffic jam at the worst placed stoplight, and a pit stop at the Eldorado National Forest later and we arrived at our second destination, Lake Tahoe.  

Day 2:

Finally, a day with no driving and a chance to relax. Funny and sad how excited I was to just enjoy a day with no driving considering all the driving we had done thus far hadn’t gotten us any closer to our final destination. We were also excited because neither of us had been to Lake Tahoe. We started our day where any adventure tends to begin, Starbucks. I must admit though, it was more out of necessity for wifi access than anything! Next we started driving around the lake and made our way to the Eagle Falls trailhead. FYI there’s a Lower Falls (that is right off the road and no hike required) and the upper falls. It’s a very mellow and short hike to the upper falls but then the keeps going for a great look out of Emerald Bay and eventually opens to a beautiful lake view. 

After the hike we had a picnic lunch at the Camp Richardson General Store and a scoop of sorbet at the Ice Cream shop! I felt like we had traveled back in time to summer camp in Parent Trap or Wet Hot American Summer

After freshening up we had plans for a sunset boat cruise tour of Emerald Bay complete with wine tasting and a charcuterie board! We had an amazing time being out on a boat, watching the sun go down, and meeting another incredible young couple that were visiting from the Bay Area. After attempting to find real food on a Sunday night, we headed back to the apartment and rested up for a big day of driving. 

Day 3:

Back on the road and ready to make our way through the desert. Leaving Tahoe, we quickly drove through Reno, Nevada and then cut across the state to Utah (another 7-8-hour drive.) We took a much-needed detour and stopped at the Bonville Salt Flats. After a few attempts at some doughnuts in the Subaru, watching a U-Haul haul down the speedway, and tasting the salt it was back on the road again. Along the way I of course made us stop at the first Jimmy Johns I could find for lunch and before long we made it all the way to Salt Lake City.

Once we got to the cutest Air BnB I’ve ever seen we headed to downtown Salt Lake which was beautiful and incredibly charming. We walked around Temple Square and then scootered to The Green Pig Pub for dinner with a view of the of the city-county building. 

Day 4:

Although this would be the second longest day of driving on the whole trip—it was worth it to see some familiar faces. We started with breakfast at Earnie’s Sports Deli in Orem with a college friend before another 8-hour drive. We made a few stops off the side of the road like the site of an old mine explosion, to see the Colorado River at the No Name exit, and the Colorado Sign just to name a few! 

Being ahead of schedule we did decide to stop in Grand Junction, Colorado for lunch at Rockslide Brewery and to check out a few antique shops while we walked off our beer. Before long we made it to Denver! Finally! This leg of the road we were fortunate to get to stay with friends. The same friends I stayed with in July mentioned in my Destination Denver post. Now after two years of not seeing each other we were fortunate to see each other twice in less than two months! We went out for dinner at Blue Moon Brewery at which we ran into another friend unexpectedly AND had the most amazing beer flights and pickle burgers. Now, I’m not much of a beer person but with beer flavors like Mexican hot chocolate, cold brew coffee, and a mango wheat (which you can buy at stores and I highly recommend) how could you not enjoy them! 

Day 5: 

Sadly, it was time to leave and time to get home. Day five’s motto was all drive and no play because a ten-hour drive through mostly Nebraska is not something to get excited about. However, with home being the final destination it was enough to keep us moving forward. Emory was a champ at this point, doing most of the driving and soon enough we were back in our great state of Iowa. 

To wrap up one of the most amazing trips and 37 hours of being in a car, I had a weekend at home with my friends, family and love ones. As well as a chance to relax, golf, drive through Ledges State Park, and eat at Jimmy B’s of course (my favorite barbecue place EVER in Boone, Iowa.) 

The trip flew by and dragged on all at the same time but overall, I couldn’t be happier with the experience. It gave Emory and I a much-needed adventure before going back to long distance. It was filled with many firsts in cities that will always hold special memories. Most of all though, the trip couldn’t have happened without its primary sponsor, Dramamine. (Ok it wasn’t really sponsored by Dramamine, but it should have been because it’s seriously the only thing that kept me alive!!!) 

Now Summer is officially over and we’re headed into my favorite time of the year. This Fall I still have a few more goals to accomplish before a New Year’s deadline! I’ll also be very busy with some exciting projects at work and I’m looking forward to a girls’ get away trip, a visit from my parents, and ALL things Halloween. 

Stay Tuned! What are you most looking forward to this Fall? 

Up on the Update

heros

img_0641

Long time and no post, I know… but the hiatus is finally over. It’s a new year (which is so hard to believe but I hope it’s going well for you!) There has been so much going on that I gave myself a little break to focus on spending time getting a lot of things accomplished in my professional life and enjoying relationships in my personal life. I’ve been challenging myself to be more present in the moment (one of my main goals for the new year which you’ll hear about in a later post) especially over the holidays during my two-week trip back home.


Since so much has been going on, I wanted to take a moment to share with you what I’ve been up to, what’s been keeping me busy, and the reason as to why you haven’t heard from me sooner. You last heard from me way back in October (one of my favorite months) and well that came and went and flew by even faster. I was fortunate enough to get to go back home for Thanksgiving and then before I knew it, it was time to start getting ready Christmas!

47277809_2199882230301294_7522792139869126656_n

Most people who know me, tend to know that when it comes to the holidays-I tend to go a little overboard and Christmas is certainly no different. Every year I have an Elf friend come and visit me and cause so much mischief I have to stay on my toes. If you have not met Herrick, you can learn more about him— he’d love to meet you!

 


I also got to celebrate my first ever work Holiday party. I’m not sure why, but I have always been so excited and have looked forward to work parties. I think it’s always a special moment when you find opportunities to bond with you co-workers outside of work-related conversations. After all I spend more time with my coworkers these days than with any of my friends or family. Our party was at an LA favorite, the Odyssey and if you couldn’t tell why-well check out that view.

img_5272

No Holiday season is complete without a party though… and your favorite hostess with the most-est had to get creative since I only have a studio apartment that’d be lucky to fit a handful of friends. Instead I hosted an event at a piano bar called Howl at the Moon! (Check to see if there’s a location at a city near you because seriously it’s the most fun ever!) The event was a great way to introduce friends to one another and just have a really great time!

Finally, it was time to get to go back home and although a cold tried to slow me down, my time in Boone was all speed ahead! I had the most wonderful time celebrating the Holidays with my family! We had a great time keeping up with life-long traditions and even starting some new ones.


From there I just kept the party going… Of course, no trip home is completely complete without a trip to my second home- Iowa City. And no Winter trip to Iowa City is complete without going to an Iowa Basketball game! I had such a blast getting to take Emory to his first ever Iowa Basketball game — and I even convinced him to root for the Hawkeyes. Plus, I got to catch up with one of my dearest friends, celebrate her birthday (although a little early) and visit one of my all-time favorite brunch places- Blue Bird Diner.


Next, we kept driving down i-80 until we ran into some familiar faces in the great city of Chicago. Emory and I got to spend New Year’s enjoying the company of some loved ones and friends that we hadn’t seen in waaaaay too long. We also took some time to explore the Chicago Art Institute and Millennium Park. What better way to ring in the new year??? Although the trip seemed waaaaay too short we were both ready to get back home (because the party was still not over, in fact it was really just beginning.)


Here just a few days later after returning from Chicago, I got to witness and be a part of one of my greatest-friend-ever’s big wedding day! It was the first wedding I’ve had the pleasure to be in and I was honored to have been a part of such a beautiful day! She was the most beautiful bride and the whole event from the rehearsal dinner, to getting ready, to the ceremony, and dance party- it was all perfect! Love was definitely in the air. Again, I was trying to live in the moment and didn’t get near enough pictures, but I can’t wait to see the moments the photographer was able to capture and can’t wait to share more with you.

So, phew… see I have been busy. Not to mention Emory was in LA with me all last week and getting back to real life has been a hard reality to face. I’ve decided the my “New Year” is going to start on February this year! I still need some time to reflect on 2018 and plan and prepare for the new goals and ideas I have for 2019 so I hope you can bear with me and wait just a little while longer while I give myself the time to figure things out!

Take a Tour

heros

img_6380.jpg

I have received a lot of questions recently asking to see my apartment and how it’s come along since first moving into my new place. Even though I’ve been in my apartment for four months, I’m still adjusting to the space and realizing that I’ve made this my new home. The decorating is still far from being over, but it’s come a loooooong ways from the air mattress and the suitcase I started with. I invite you to take a little tour but to keep in mind, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Just a reminder on the space. It’s technically a JR. one bed room unit. It has a dividing built in which doesn’t qualify it as a studio but no door, so I guess it’s not a true 1 bedroom either. My apartment overlooks the pool area (which they’re completely re-doing the next few months) and my balcony has a view of Lake Balboa Park.

Living Room

Furnishing an apartment from scratch is a daunting experience but also an extremely exciting and rewarding challenge as well. I started with making too many trips to TJ MAXX and Target for the necessities: kitchen utensils, towels, cleaning supplies, and the air mattress. From there, I made a goal every week to check another thing off the list. At first, I was conflicted to just buy it all so that I could be done with it, but the other half of me wanted to take my time to find pieces that could make this feel more like my home.

This space is truly my first space. I’m solely in charge and it only has to work for me at this point. I’ve embraced that and started to explore my style and try new things. Color has always been my favorite way to make a room pop, but in this small space, I’m learning how important practicality and functionality can be. For example, my Rattan chair from Target was the least practical decision I’ve made, AND it was the first piece of furniture I purchased. I went from using a card board box as a dinner table to sitting on this (it is more comfortable than it looks, but still) Yet this chair is still one of my favorite pieces in my apartment.

Bedroom

My apartment should really be a walking advertisement for HomeGoods and Target. I fell in love with Target’s Summer Opal House collection! They made it so easy to start designing because of the wide variety of products available for bed, living, kitchen, and bath in a variety of coordinating patterns, prints, and colors. Then I rely on HomeGoods to help fill in the gaps. They’re always my go to stop for finding finishing touches that are both practical, unique, and eccentric. You never know what you’re going to find but you also know it’ll always be a steal! Some of my favorite HomeGoods finds include my couch, my wooden end table, and my variety of picture frames that showcase my loved ones and help remind me I’m not alone!

Kitchen

There’s nothing like scavenging through a flea market though, and the Los Angeles area has sooooooooo many to choose from. Although it would have been my choice to source all my furniture and décor from flea markets, having a small car and no moving buddies is not ideal (most of my large furniture I ordered online so I wouldn’t have to deal with this issue) Instead I use flea markets as a hobby never knowing what I’m looking for and just to find things with a little character. My kitchen is small. It’s fine when cooking for a party of one but I knew moving in that I’d need some extended counter space. It came from one of my favorite and largest flea markets I’ve ever been to in Long Beach.

Bedroom

Then I tried a re-sale app called Offer Up which introduced me to this local store the Little French Flea Market where I purchased my vanity desk, mirror, and chair. And then a few weekends ago I attended the Melrose Trading Post for the first time and found this great print of Audrey Hepburn.

img_5339.jpg

Sometimes I get lucky and don’t even need to look to find great pieces to bring home, sometimes they find me. The best part about being in a nice residential community is that people are constantly throwing out things that are beautiful and in great condition in our back-alley. If only I had the car to collect all the furniture and the space to re-do it, I could have my own flea market by now! (Dreams… maybe one day soon.) I found this beautiful frame and wait to create some are to go in it and one night I even found a box of little buddhas by the dumpster!

Now that all my furniture is in place (other than a kitchen table but with it just being me I have some time) my next apartment goal is to source some artwork. As much as I’d love to create it all from scratch, I don’t always have the time and don’t want to force anything. I also believe in supporting local artists and enjoy showcasing their stories as much as my own. Here are some of the spaces I’m shopping to fill! At the Melrose Flea Market, I was introduced to two amazing artists Cody Suzanne Clifford and Marz Jr. I’m still looking and am open to your suggestions. Please let me know if you have any favorite websites you use to find prints OR if you know of any local shops or artists. I also plan to check out the Social Type again in Silver Lake and take a visit to the Arts District!

Design Tip: Coasters

I’ve recently been inspired by LA friends that collect coasters from different bars and restaurants that they visit that guests can turn around and use. Every coaster tells a story and at the same time they can be great conversation starters and highlights of artwork. To jump start my collection I found a pack of whiskey and spirits coasters at HomeGoods and now I’m adding to it as I come across new designs.

My favorite attraction about my apartment is still Lake Balboa across the street! I’m always looking forward to runs and walks around the lake‑ they make it feel like home and it’s a little escape form the busy city life. Right now, all the birds are migrating and there’s so many different kinds of ducks, geese, cranes, swans, pelicans, and seagulls.

Bathroom

PS: I’m now accepting reservations for any friends and family to come visit whenever they please as mentioned they are re-doing our pool for the next 3 months, BUT I also have 3 mattresses for you to choose from for your visit: pillow top, a memory foam, and an air mattress. It’s a long story but pick your poison and see you soon!

Entry Way

 

 

Plant Possibilities

heros

IMG_2816-2

This past year, I have gotten pretty into plants… and while I somehow manage to keep myself alive, I’ve never been great at keeping my green friends thriving. While plants are such an important part of decorating a space, I never really had an interest in them until I visited the store Moss in Iowa City. Full disclaimer here: I was totally one of the people that made fun of the store when they first opened because I thought there was no way that they’d be able to create a sustainable business selling moss, succulents, pots, and other small gifts! There was no way!!! But, I must say, after my first time ever visiting the store… it wasn’t long before I was a regular customer.

img_2372-1.jpg

I became obsessed with the way cacti and succulents looked and the way that a little greenery could brighten your whole mood in a room. Anytime I saw a plant on sale- I snatched it up and started looking for creative ways to give it a new home. Although I had a new passion of indoor gardening, it didn’t mean I was good at it. I’d try propagating (taking leaves from plants to grow a new plant) clippings co-workers would give me. Everyone else’s would grow 3 times as fast, most of mine would shrivel out, and even when one started to grow it took FOREVER. I began to think that maybe plants weren’t the thing for me.

 

 

When I moved to LA, I had to say buh-bye to the plants I’d cared for so much in the past year and left them in the care of my mom. (The plants actually seem to be thriving, but I have no idea how because she’s not great with plants either.) I’m surrounded by green-thumbs though (which only seems to frustrate me more at my lack of ability.) Before moving I helped my Uncle (who has basically converted half of his house into a greenhouse) plant seeds in preparation for the Summer. He had the whole set up including proper lighting, watering techniques, potting materials, you name it! Then there’s my boyfriend who can find a seed or leaf on the ground and three days later it’s over growing its pot.

I wasn’t ready to give up. Now that I’m finally starting to get settled in my apartment and making it look like a home (the reveal will be soon I swear just waiting on a few final touches like plants, pictures, and artwork) I could see that I was missing something—plants. I also need something to “take care of” and I’m nowhere near ready for the responsibility of a dog so plants it is.

IMG_9890-2

In California there are soooo many floral shops, nurseries, and gardens BUT plants can be really expensive. This weekend I went with a friend of mine to the Los Angeles Flower District. Basically, is about 4 square blocks of nothing but floral and plant shops. They’re these warehouse buildings that have all different kinds of flower venders selling fresh cut flowers, house plants, outdoor plants, pots, and plant accessories. Whether interested in buying plants or not it’s quite the experience! It will overwhelm your senses with bright and beautiful colors and everywhere you go it sells so amazing. The absolute best part though, is that it’s incredibly cheap. Tiny baby succulents for $1 each and taller house plants for $20 -$90 depending on the size of the plant.

 

img_2169-2.jpg

So here’s what all I walked away with: 1 tall tree thing, 1 small standard house plant, 1 standard vine plant, 1 bigger succulent grouping, 6 baby succulents, and 5 pots all for about $60-$70! What a steal!!! I wanted so much more but thought this was a good place to start. Obviously I don’t know any of the technical names being new to this plant thing and having done no research. None of them were really labeled at the store so if you know what they are or what they’re called, please let me know.

 

 

Logistics: The flower district is located downtown LA close to the fashion district. There’s plenty of parking available in the area, most of it was $5-10 depending on how long you’ll be there. The parking lots are very close so if you need to make a few trips like we did it’s super easy to do!  The market is during the morning and I believe it ends at 2:00 pm so plan accordingly. We met there at 11:00 and made a lap around to all the shops and scoped things out for about an hour then went back through and made our purchases. To go into the original LA Flower Market we had to pay $1. Although its cheap and you think that it’s going to be worth it, we actually had better luck at all the surrounding shops.

 

Since it’s down town there are soooo many ways to make a day out of it if you’re already making the drive. The arts district (which I still need to check out) and the ROW DTLA are close by (driving distance though.) We drove a little way to go to lunch at Bottega Louie —so good but there are also sooooo many options to stop and eat at just be prepared you’ll have to pay for parking again. I had an event later that day that was also down town at the LA Center for Digital Art, so I went and parked again in that area and walked around until I found a coffee shop where I could sit and write this blog post! I found the neatest little space with this tiny, all glass coffee shop in the middle of all these apartment buildings called Tilt Coffee. It was just what I needed. It’s the best kind of treat yourself and your apartment kind of day!