One To Nothin'

Let's give 'em something to taco 'bout

Before I get into this post, I need you to know that I have literally eaten tacos for every single meal since Sunday, and I'm still not sick of them. I think that makes me an actual official Californian. We love our tacos on the West coast--I even dress my dog up as one (and I'm pretty sure I need this shirt, but I digress).

I also ate my fair share of incredible tacos in Austin, and Mexico is on my list of travel destinations, so get ready to hear me rave about that in the near future. But for now, let's talk about these beauties.
The La Victoria brand is celebrating its 100th anniversary, so they're throwing rad foodie events all over the country. Last week they had Chef Gustavo Romero create duck confit tacos with jicama, avocado mousse and orange-cherry salsa in San Francisco. Unfortunately I wasn't there to experience it myself, but the photos make my mouth water (if you live in Portland, be sure to check out the event coming to you on July 13 at the Pioneer Courthouse Square). So in lieu of eating a famous chef's famous duck, I used my own West Coast vibez to create these taco creations. 
Since I decided to go pescetarian for June (...I love a challenge, and I'm definitely finding myself making better, lighter and more thoughtful decisions because of it), I went with shrimp and fried cod tacos made with La Victoria diced green chiles and topped with La Victoria Cilantro Salsa. These were probably the most elaborate tacos I've ever made--tartar sauce made from scratch and homemade "frying flour" assembled with oregano, salt, chile powder and pepper. We even topped them with crumbled goat feta (lactose-free!) and plain Greek yogurt (aka lactose-free sour cream). 
Then I completely stuffed my face, and it was glorious. I feel a full-on vegetarian month coming on soon, and this recipe for roasted cauliflower steaks with verde chimichurri looks BOMB.

Please tell me, what are the best tacos you've ever had? When? Where? And how do I get some? 

Bay Area Thangs

Lately I've thought back to planning my cross-country road trip into the unknown over four years ago. Not just because holy-shit-where-did-the-time-go, but also because the old me would've been ashamed of the present me's lack of dedication to this internet space. That entire week of travel was full of guest posts. GUEST POSTS. Not only did I plan posts ahead, but I even forced my friends and family to write for the internet too (sorry, guys).
I was uprooting my entire life, leaving everything and everyone I'd ever known, but it was YOU guys I was worried about (ok, maybe it's only my mom who's still around from that era). Anyway, I have a lot of stuff going on these day. Once I got here it became more of the "LOOK AT ALL THE COOL STUFF CALIFORNIA HAS" kind of content, and dudes, there's still so much cool stuff here. I've just been doing it without telling you about it, so let's catch up for a minute. I'm sticking to the bigger events, but four years ago I could've/probably did write an entire post just about how excited I was to have dairy-free creamers for my coffee everywhere I went). #spoiled
Bottlerock -- the past couple years I went all out for Bottlerock (read about it here and here), but this time it was a last-minute decision. My office has this majestic thing we call Summer Fridays where everyone goes outside and enjoys life starting at 1pm on Friday through the summer (did I mention my job is awesome?). So instead of riding the ferry home and lol'ing at everyone still in their offices like I'd done the week before, I raced home and drove to Napa for some wine and music. I missed out on a bunch of acts earlier in the day, but let's be real, I really just needed to see Modest Mouse. I also managed to catch Macklemore on the food stage throwing chicken into the audience with Martha Stewart, heard St. Motel as I was trying to find parking, watched some of Fitz & the Tantrums' set, Silversun Pickups, Catfish and the Bottlemen, then settled on in with Modest Mouse the rest of the night. It was a short, whirlwind love affair, but I already have my Outside Lands tickets for this year, so I let it go.
Clusterfest -- Speaking of Outside Lands, those angelic humans created a COMEDY FESTIVAL. This was its inaugural year, and I'm hoping there will be many more to come (despite it  living up to its clever name). I'm pretty sure I strained my face from laughing so much. There were simultaneous sets of super to semi famous comedians in the Bill Graham Auditorium, at a stage set up across from the capital building and another smaller stage set up farther away. We saw so many hilarious acts, but the ones that really stick out in my mind are: Rachel Bloom, Hannibel Buress, Fred Armisen, Lil Dicky, Anthony Jeselnik, Tig Notaro, Hasan Minhaj, Liza Treyger, Jay Larson, Chris Garcia... I know I'm missing some really great ones, but seriously all of these people cracked me up. There were a couple times when I was uncontrollably laugh crying. OH, AND TIA CARERRE WAS THERE (the Babebraham Lincoln from Wayne's World) -- the Broad City Girls (who I also love) did a live reading of Wayne's World (one of my all-time favorite movies) and then, BOOM, Cassandra comes on and sings Ballroom Blitz right into my ears. It was incredible.
Random Weekend Things -- When I'm not chilling at festivals it's all about that brunch, wine, hike, and obviously Netflix life. So that's what I've been up to.

What have your weekends looked like this summer?

How to sink safely into Netflix-fueled denial


As long as you turn off your CNN notifications, don’t go on any form of social media and acquire someone else's Netflix password...  
It's a wonderful, quirky world filled with quick-witted people with perfectly symmetrical faces whose biggest problems (and solutions) are neatly written into a script. 

You gotta love that kind of consistency. If you really want to drown out the miserable nails-scraping-a-chalkboard sound that is the world news at any given time, I suggest investing in a Costco set of Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownie mixes, coconut La Croix and plenty of puzzles. 
Once you’ve got a batch in the oven, your phone placed safely in the freezer and a cold one popped open, here’s what your queue should look like (warning: unless you’re thrifty before your phone goes into hibernation, you may need to create a fake email address for an HBO Go trial, which means going on a computer, which puts you at risk of falling into a black hole of internet hate, so tread carefully): 

Master of None — Season two just came out, so if you watched season one a million years ago, like myself, it’s time to watch it again and let the splendor of Arnie wash over you all over again. Aziz is a genius.

LOVE — If you like watching beautiful people be assholes in LA in an extremely awkward, pretty funny and weirdly addicting way, get on it. Season two for this one also recently popped out, so enjoy both seasons back-to-back like a real hermit.

Girls — See above description except in NYC instead of LA. You’ll need an HBO Go login, but I believe in you. Somewhere back there one of your exes texted it to you, you just have to trust in the scroll. Just know that the very last episode of the finale will make you say, “what in the actual fuq?"

New Girl — One of my top three favorite shows of all time. Season six just ended, and if you’ve never seen season one, then I am incredibly envious. But I’ll watch it with you for the fifth or sixth time anyway. 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — If you hate musicals, GTFO this blog. Kidding. But not really. This show is hilarious, and if you don’t agree then we can’t be friends. That is all.

Girlboss — This one started really strong for me. It takes place in San Francisco, it’s loosely based on the book based on the life of Sophia Amoruso and her BFF makes it worth watching. 

Gilmore Girls — I’m realizing now how many of my favorite TV shows have the word “girl” in the title. Please ignore this as I feel it may be some sort of internalized misogyny playing out in my very own Netflix queue. Kidding… kind of. Anyway, if you’re a weirdo like me, start with the newest season so you’ll be real nice and confused before starting from season one for the first time. I love watching people get younger while I waste away on my couch. 

Big Little Lies — IT’S SO GOOD. But read the book first. AND THEN APPRECIATE HOW GOOD. And save the soundtrack because daaaayum

Stranger Things — This one’s not great for the anxiety issue we’re trying to avoid, but at the same time it’s nostalgic and you can’t stop watching, so just do it.  
Once you’ve made your way through that there list, it’s time to hit up these fail-safe options:

The Office, FRIENDS, Parks & Rec (chubby Chris Pratt is the best Chris Pratt), 30 Rock and Modern Family.

Aaaand once you get through those, it’s time to hit the hard stuff… like Community, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Workaholics and, if need be, The O.C.

That’s it, friends. All you need to forget about our world falling apart: brownies, fruity soda water and endless television. Whatever allows you to actually get out of bed in the morning, amiright?  
What are your coping mechanisms these days? 

PS: I know, I know. We have to be the change. I’m trying. But sometimes denial is the best chance I have at not crawling into a little ball forever and ever.  Just keeping it real. 

PPS: Like my sweatshirt? It's c/o Mindful Tee -- see more designs here.

Let us raise a toast

Have you guys met Elizabeth yet? She's my new(ish) roommate, pictured above and below, who I skillfully snagged through Craigslist. That's right, friends, I took a chance on a could-be-murderous-stranger and won at life because she's one of the coolest people in the world--and she loves wine. Match made in heaven. 
But when I say I "took a chance," I'm lying my face off because I actually spent several hours crafting that CL ad. No joke, I was tired of finding a new roomie every couple months, so I took a hint from the hundreds of job listings I've read (and been rejected by) over the years. I did it up big explaining exactly what our apartment is like (covered in dog hair and always operating to the sound of Taylor Swift or Gilmore Girls), what myself and my other roomie (another one of the coolest people in the world) are like (cooking, drinking, talking openly about any and all bodily functions), and what we wanted him or her to be like (mostly in love with my dog).
Then, to make sure the candidate read through the entire listing, they had to start their application off with their go-to karaoke song. We had some pretty promising players, but Elizabeth came with actual references, and as soon as she walked in (bearing wine and brownies) it felt like she belonged. Ziggy had the final say, of course, but *knock on wood* she hasn't run away yet and it's been over three months. Obviously we love her, and since she's always, always sharing her wine with me, I thought I'd express my gratitude by bringing her as my plus one to the Memorial Day Wente White Party in the Vineyard.
You might already know this, but when I first moved to California I lived in Livermore for a year. I've been telling everyone in the SF area how underrated Livermore Valley Wine Country is forever, and I even had a tasting (or 12) at Wente way back in the day, so naturally I was very excited when they offered me a free ticket to the wine party.
As soon as we drove the 45 minutes it takes to get from Oakland to Livermore, the clouds disappeared completely and it was straight up 75 and sunny the whole time.
There was a gif-making booth complete with props, a basket of sunscreen for folks like myself, a branded tote full of delicious food (quinoa, lots of cheese, two different types of sandwiches and the cutest little handpie) and ginormous balloons on each table--ours kept bopping me in the head. I apologize for not getting that on camera.
We sat at a random table with the friendliest people, and as we drank more Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, the conversation naturally got raunchier (let's just say there was talk of piercings and I somehow managed to show off my tattoo without flashing everyone).
After a whole lot of laughing and posing with the Wente sign, we finished off the Memorialist Memorial Day party ever by getting our dance on. Luckily I did manage to get that on camera for you, but I'm sparing you by muting the part where I rap at the camera--you're welcome. Check out the fabulous event by pressing play below.

Thanks so much for having us, Wente. We'll be back next year. 

Half Dome-ination

Running has meant so many different things to me throughout my life. Freshman year of high school it was a source of anxiety because I couldn’t beat the elusive 9-minute mile to achieve the Presidential Fitness Award in PE class. I remember feeling  defeated by it, and getting faster seemed entirely impossible.

Sophomore year of high school I started playing soccer and gained some confidence in my athletic abilities (however meek they may have been). Then, one fateful day, I saw a sign taped up in the hallway and those Comic Sans letters said, “Want to get in the best shape of your life? Join Cross Country!” So I did.
Back then I hoped it would be a way to look good in a bikini, and I did drop about 15 lbs right away, but I also made some of my best friends in the universe. We suffered through 3pm runs in the Florida heat. We ate pasta together the night before races. We sang silly songs and made up ridiculous dances to distract from the lactic acid building in our scrawny legs. We laughed all. the. time. We got competitive sometimes, but mostly we made something I thought would be impossible to ever enjoy the most fun thing of my young life. 

I loved running, but I knew I wasn’t going to try to make it competitively in college, so for a while I lost it. I missed having my team to get sweaty with every day, and my new group of sorority gals weren’t really the running type (drinking? oh yes. running? nah). I was having fun, but I wasn’t running and I was starting to feel pretty rotten because of it.

I was at the beach with my BFF’s family sophomore year of college and this older gal I didn’t know very well told me she ran a half marathon. I had to know everything—how did she train? How hard was it? What was the course like? It was like she flipped the switch. The revelation that people from all over the world came together to run 3, 9, 13 and 26 miles together made me realize, once again, that maybe I could be athletic too. I signed up right away (and couldn’t convince a single other soul to do it with me), and I trained my ass off. Once again, I looked and felt good, and I realized this was gonna be a thing for as long as my body would let it.
I’ve used running as a way to make new friends, and it’s my favorite way to bond with old ones. It’s been a way to find bloggers to follow when I didn’t even know they existed, and a way to connect with ones who are just starting to discover their running potential. It’s my way to explore new cities when I travel, and an excuse to travel in general—Disney, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland and, last weekend, Yosemite. 

Sometimes I train really hard and crush it (like for that marathon), and sometimes I wing it and just have fun (...and can’t move the next day, or the next). But no matter how far I go or how prepared I am, the best feeling in the world is sharing the experience and excitement with people who inspire you, support you and crack you up all at the same time.
The group of women who ran the Yosemite Half Marathon with me this past weekend were the perfect example of the bond that running creates. There were some old friends and the new acquaintances felt like old friends. They were fast, talented, friendly and hilarious. They were happy to pose for the camera (and occasionally stand behind it), and they never missed an opportunity to laugh. They shared their positive energy, cooking skills, rounds of applause and delicious food with me, and I shared wine—lots and lots of wine.
I had an amazing time earning this gorgeous race medal with these people—I can’t think of a better group to share a house and Morning Chardonnay with. So here’s a toast to the ones I love the most—running, friends and the friends who love running. 

Special thanks to Wente for providing the breakfast beverage of choice. Check out their wine selection and their vineyard, and don't forget to celebrate Chardonnay Day on May 25 (I'll be collaborating with them again next weekend in Livermore--so excited!).

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