A Grand New Year Close to Home

New Year's Eve - Grand Park LA

Happy 2014! How did you ring in the new year?

Matt and I are starting to feel pretty proud of ourselves for getting in on the magic that is becoming Grand Park LA. Ever since our June wedding there (and admittedly probably before), the park has become a go-to destination for all kinds of celebrations. I thought it couldn’t get any more packed than during Fourth of July, but New Year at the park brought a force to be reckoned with. At 11 p.m., it was at capacity with hordes of people spilling over onto the steps of the Music Center and surrounding streets. We managed to squeeze our way onto the fountain overlook (the very spot where our wedding took place!), and after some frantic texting, met up with Celeste and Stephen. We all counted down together as a spectacular light show took over City Hall.

While I still have a penchant for the easy marvel of a new year abroad, it felt nice to have such a grand (and free!) celebration so close to home. And with a preshow of yummy Chinese food, cocktails, old movies and retro video games, it was my kind of new year.

Merry Christmas From the Two of Us!

photo

Merry Christmas, guys!!! Just wanted to wish you all a wonderful day with family and friends, and also to share this photo of me and Kim that just happens to be one of our favorite funny memories together. A few Decembers ago, we went out to lunch with some friends and the two of us were getting ready to pose for a picture together. But just as the photo was being snapped, I got distracted by something someone said and turned to smile at them. When the photo came out, poof!—it looked like I was staring adoringly at Kim. Which actually pretty much sums up how I always look at her. Since then, the two of of us (and our group of friends) love to bring up this photo as a testament to just how truly, deeply, and madly in love with Kim I am. ;)

Happy holidays and hope you’re all having the best day out there!

Have Yourself a ‘Totes Amaze’ Christmas

Hipster Santa - BMF Australia Ad Campaign

Today’s post seems especially apropos, obviously because of the whole Christmas-is-in-seven-days thing, but also because I experienced my first true hipster over-saturation this weekend. During my craft-fair-a-palooza, I arrived at my second stop, the Echo Park Craft Fair, having just left the comforts of the trusty and only mildly hipster-esque Renegade Craft Fair. Within seconds, I was bombarded by fleece and gluten-free baked goods, and overhearing phrases like, “Well I’m working on merging the concepts of technology and culture,” and “They really have the best kombucha.” Normally pretty cool and collected in situations where I’m the odd-woman out, even I had to bolt.

All of that leads me nicely into this pretty spectacular ad campaign from BMF Australia to promote a new shopping mall in Sydney. The campaign’s Hipster Santa not only has his own recycled wrapping paper and requests coconut water and gluten-free macarons in lieu milk and cookies, but he also has an indie Christmas carol cover band called Hipster Santa and the Antlers.

Totes ridic? Maybe. But I think this is one holiday hipster I might be able handle.

P.S. Matt and I stumbled upon Santa’s summer vacation spot on our honeymoon:

Found Santa's vacation spot: Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Found Santa’s vacation spot: Dubrovnik, Croatia.

In Search of a New July 4 Tradition

This was our old July 4 tradition: Watching fireworks along the strand in Redondo Beach. What are your favorite July 4 activities/lookouts?

I’ve decided. The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. It’s like the confluence of all the things I love in life: being outdoors, good food, good company, fireworks, magical sights …  independence. Ever since I moved to Southern California from Arizona – and gotten closer and closer to the beach – my love for July 4 has grown even more. (For me, add the beach to anything and you pretty much have it made.)

Up until last year, our July 4 activities were a no-brainer. The boy, whose birthday is on that very day, lived in Redondo Beach so we’d invite a bunch of friends over, have some food and drinks and then walk to the beach to see fireworks go off all along the coast. Now that the boy lives downtown, we’ve been thrown off our game a bit. We’ve adapted to life in the city and grown to enjoy it immensely, but on July 4,  the city doesn’t quite cut it for me.

But what to do? Drive to the beach and try and wade through the crowds for hours to find parking? No thanks. Stay in the city and try a find a cool rooftop somewhere? Maybe. What I’m getting to here, is that I want to hear your ideas, readers! Do you have special lookouts or activities you do for July 4? Where are the best places to go? I implore you, help us find a new July 4 tradition. I know you’ll make at least one birthday boy (and me) very happy :)

{Photo by me}

Fun With Pi

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie -- Bakerella

Happy National Pi Day, everyone! For those of you whose last venture into the world of math was a college communications math class (me), Pi Day is the one day each year when true math fans delight at the aligning of calendar days and the mathematical constant for circles that is March 14, 3/14, 3.14. No matter how you slice it, today’s the day to eat copious amounts of pie and fill your blogs with as many pie/pi puns as possible. So I’m rounding out the day with a list of some of the best-looking pies around, starting with this looker (above) from Bakerella that is pretty much my dream-come-true.

3.14 more pies that strike my fancy:

1. Blackberry Apple Pie from Good Things Grow

2. Pies in a jar from All Jarred Up

3. Apple Pie Caramel Apples from The Girl Who Ate Everything

.14. Blueberry Pie Wontons from Cheeky Kitchen (technically these aren’t round, but put a few of them together and you can probably get something resembling a circle)

Anyone Got a Penny?

DIY Scratch Off Cards

I have to agree with Bonnie from the “Going Home to Roost” blog. Those little scratcher cards are probably one of the best things ever. That’s why I’m so thrilled she reposted this DIY project from Martha Stewart that shows you how to make your own scratchers — without all the over-the-top graphics and color, of course.

I can think of so many fun ways to use this technology. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I may put one or two of them to use very soon.

[Photo via Going Home to Roost]

Christmastime is Here?

Copyright Rune Guneriussen

Copyright Rune Guneriussen

Copyright Rune Guneriussen

Copyright Rune Guneriussen

Having spent most of my formative childhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, I often miss the dramatic change in the seasons from fall to winter. There was something magical about waking up to a snowy day and getting bundled up in front of the fire, especially on Christmas morning. These days, I barely even realize it’s Christmastime until the malls start overflowing with people and traffic becomes a nightmare.

This year to get into the Christmas spirit, I think I’ll just spend some time gazing at these dreamy photographs from Norwegian artist Rune Guneriussen. Guneriussen builds and photographs these stunning scenes all over Norway – and then unfortunately deconstructs them. I just love the magical winter-like vibe they produce. I could stare at them for hours.

See more of Guneriussen’s work, here.