San Diego Restaurant is happening, now through Sunday, January 22nd!

Tuesday night, Kevin and I stepped out of our North County bubble and traveled down to The Smoking Goat in North Park for San Diego Restaurant Week. North Park has such a wide array of good restaurants, I just never seem to make the trek. For example, I’m pretty sure The Smoking Goat has been on my “to-try” restaurant list for the past 6-7 years, so I’m glad San Diego Restaurant Week gave me the chance.

The Smoking Goat is a French bistro with a rustic farmhouse vibe that definitely fits the San Diego food scene. The restaurant week menu provides a good representation of what The Smoking Goat normally serves, while only priced at $40 for 3-courses.

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To start, we ordered the French Onion Soup with oxtail broth, crouton and Swiss gruyere and the Foie Gras Torchon with fig preserve and toast. The French Onion Soup had a flavor that was reminiscent of Thanksgiving (perhaps the flavor from the bay leaf?). And the Foie Gras did not disappoint since it’s one of my favorite things (and I don’t think I’ve had it since I studied abroad in Paris basically 7 years go!).

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Our waiter was very knowledgeable and helped me select a Cotes du Rhone to pair with my entree, the Duck Confit. If you haven’t noticed a trend, duck is my absolute favorite! The Duck Confit was accompanied by a sweet potato-oyster mushroom hash, rapini and black truffle jus. And for Kev’s second course, he ordered the Compart Farms Duroc Pork Chop with potato-bacon gratin and braised kale. Both of our dishes were very moist and flavorful, and we completely devoured them.

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This season, San Diego Restaurant Week partnered up with the Girl Scouts of America to celebrate 100 years of Girl Scout Cookies, so chef’s created dishes that incorporated this treat. We found this collaboration in the Chocolate Pot de Creme dessert that came with Girl Scout trefoils shortbread cookies and espresso cream. Of course we had to try one of each dessert, so we also ordered the Apple Cobbler with stone fruit and coconut-oat streusel.

Everything was absolutely top notch! One of my favorite things about San Diego Restaurant Week is that it makes me try new places. And through this format, we’ve always been able to sample a selection of dishes that leave us wanting to come back another time to try more.

The Smoking Goat 

3408 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104

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Thank you to The Smoking Goat for hosting me! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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November was a month I didn’t seem to sit still. The first weekend of November was spent down in Mexico in the gated community of Las Gaviotas for Deb’s birthday. I successfully baked and transported a rainbow layered cake, and successfully made it back over the border in less than 2 hours!

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The next weekend London and I took another trip up to Venice for our friend Jhoel’s birthday where we celebrated at the LA Beer Fest. With Hawaii on our mind for Christmas/New Year’s, we buzzed-ly decided, ya we “co-habitate”, and signed up signed up for a timeshare presentation (which we ended up getting too sketched out to go to). We also ran into our friend Hoppy Beer Hoppy Life who had a booth and scored some newly designed hats.

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Fast forward to the next weekend we celebrated Friendsgiving and I made my favorite German Chocolate Pecan Pie. Time seemed to fly, because the next week was already Thanksgiving. I went to Jen’s Thanksgiving for the third year in a row and brought a brown butter sage roasted sweet potato dish (recipe doubled). And on Black Friday, I decided to #optoutside again this year with a hike at Palomar Mountain while simultaneously “dealing with the past” (which surprisingly ended up being and has become a good thing).

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Leading into December, London and I went back up to LA (ironically the day we were supposed to go to our time share presentation in Encino LOLOL) for the Unique LA holiday market where London’s friend had a booth. We made sure to stop somewhere truly LA to eat where we saw someone insta-famous and simultaneously turned to each other and said “that’s @___!“ We immediately we felt better about our choice to devour brunch at Urth Cafe including breakfast “apps” (appetizers), an establishment where someone Insta bikini famous ate!

Weekly Workout Recap (10/31-11/6):
Mon – 3 mi + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Tues – Rest
Wed – 4 mi + Power Flow @YogaSix
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 7 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 2
2016 miles: 768.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (11/7-11/13):
Mon – The Mixed Level @ The Bar Method + 3 mi
Tues – Full Body @ Core40
Wed – 4 mi run
Thurs – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 7 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 3
2016 miles: 775.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (11/14-11/20):
Mon – Mixed Level @ The Bar Method + 3 mi
Tues – Full Body @ Core40 + Bootcamp @ YogaSix + Climbing
Wed – 3.5 mi run
Thurs – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Fri – Rest
Sat – Sculpt @ BodyROK
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 6.5 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 5
2016 miles: 782 mi
Weekly Workout Recap (11/21-11/27):
Mon – Hot Yoga @ Yoga Tropics
Tues – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Hike @ Palomar Mountain
Sat – Rest
Sun – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Total Weekly Mileage: 0 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 4
2016 miles: 782 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (11/28-12/4):
Mon – Hot Yoga @ Yoga Tropics
Tues – Full Body @ Core40
Wed – 4 mi
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Mixed Level @ The Bar Method
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage:
Number of cross-training workouts: 3
2016 miles: 786 mi

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Biggest question for 2017: do I still want to be a blogger?

In 2016, this blog slowly started to die.  The concept of “daily cup” and “daily doses” doesn’t really seem to fit anymore.  When I first started this blog circa 2013, I read a lot of running bloggers who ran race after race, leaving me feeling inspired, but also like I needed to race frequently to build content.  Last year, I ran 2 whole races, which left me with not so much content.  I don’t really run and I don’t really write.

Long gone are the days when I’d spend Sundays meal prepping an entire week’s worth of food – breakfasts, snacks, and lunches, always with a plan/recipe for dinner. Meal prepping is no longer in my vernacular. It’s more like make 1 recipe a week to spread out 5 days for lunch. And I never plan for dinners anymore because it’s something I just can’t really plan.

In a way, I feel like “blogging” has become so predictable.  It’s hard to be creative and innovative when it feels like you can Google something and find it on someone else’s blog. Blogs are like the new half marathons (everyone’s done one) and half marathons are the new marathons.

So what do I want? I want to share things and experiences that I can’t find online when I do my research (for example, backpacking Cactus to Clouds, La Croix can costumes, and pieced together layer cake recipes).  I want to rebrand this blog (because the title and tagline just don’t make sense anymore). And I want to write more in general (just maybe not about myself on a weekly basis).

So…let’s see what happens in 2017!

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The best gift I received this year (and maybe ever) is my Nespresso.

It’s the gift that never stops giving. Not only do a I enjoy a warm cup of a FROTHY latte first thing in the morning, EVERY MORNING, from the comfort of my own home…but I’m also saving money.  This is why you need to get your loved one THE GIFT OF ENDLESS COFFEE.

For 70-80 cents per pod…I just purchased 70 capsules (aka 70 cups worth) for the equivalent of 8-10 of my “fancy coffee” drinks (and allows me to drink 2-3 cups guilt-free daily…)

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And not only do I enjoy my Nespresso at home, we recently just bought one for the office from William’s Sonoma at Westfield UTC (the whole store smelled like one big holiday pie).

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Now purchasing Nespresso pods is even easier with the new Nespresso store at Westfield UTC. PLUS it’s equipped with a tasting station where you can “try” those brand new holiday flavors you’ve never ever tried before (or maybe just have 3 sleeves of waiting at home… ;-)).  When you’re thinking of what to put on your wish list or what you should get someone this holiday season…trust me and GIVE THE GIFT OF NESPRESSO!

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For Deb’s birthday, she dreamed of a rainbow layer cake. So I came up with this cake and then transported it all the way down to Mexico.  My process of baking it earlier in the week (to avoid any stress – cakes take a lot of time!), cooling, freezing and thawing the cake lent itself to the most dense, moist and delicious cake ever.

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4-Layer Rainbow Coconut Cake
Coconut cake adapted from Homemade Interest

INGREDIENTS:
Cake
2 box White cake mix
16 oz sour cream
1/2 c Vegetable oil
6 eggs
2 cups coconut cream (I used the cream on top of full fat canned coconut milk. ~2 cans)
Food coloring
Topping
2 containers of store-bought cream cheese frosting
Sweetened shredded coconut
Cake topper from Amazon

DIRECTIONS:
Cake

  1. Heat oven to 350°F
  2. Mix cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and cream of coconut in a large bowl.
  3. Separate batter evenly into 4 different bowls. Add desired food coloring to each respective bowl.
  4. Pour cake batter of first 2 layers into 2 9” pans that have been greased.
  5. Bake approximately 30 minutes at 350°F or until you can put a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.
  6. Repeat with remaining 2 layers.
  7. Cool all layers completely at room temperature (~12 hours).
  8. Freeze overnight. Remove from freezer and let thaw in refrigerator.

Toppings

  1. When ready to serve, spread cream cheese frosting between each layer and around exterior of cake.
  2. Completely top with sweetened coconut flakes.

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One of my favorite things to do the first of every month is to read my Susan Miller horoscope. Since Mercury will go retrograde during the holiday season, it’s suggested I get my holiday shopping done this month. While it might seem early, that’s what has me thinking already.

This Christmas I’m looking to shop Uncommon Goods. I love how everything is handmade and artisanal, making each gift feel like it’s one-of-a-kind.  Uncommon Goods also makes shopping easy, with Christmas Gifts for Women and Christmas Gifts for Men collections.

Here are some of my favorite finds on Uncommon Goods —

uncommongoods_plantsRight now, one my favorite things are home accents, especially indoor plants. They can add so much vibrancy and completely change a space. This hanging planter is really cool and so is this succulent living wall planter kit!

uncommongoods_kitchenThe kitchen is also another important place where gifts are always welcomed. This reclaimed wood cookbook stand ads just a bit of rustic flavor to the kitchen, and I like how raw and natural these stoneware pieces look.

uncommongoods_babiesAnd even though I don’t have any babies, and don’t really have too many friends with babies yet (Kendall said I can get these for her in 4-5 years…) I’m obsessed with these swaddling and bootie collections that look like food!!

While the gifts on Uncommon Goods are unique, the company is also different in that it’s a B Corp meaning it’s been evaluated based on areas including company governance, environmental practices, and impacts on the local community.

Where are you planning to do your holiday shopping?

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Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Uncommon Goods. However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I am constantly bored with lunches. I easily get over salads. And I leave sandwiches for when I’m feeling really uncreative. In my meal planning these days (which basically means making my lunch), I’ve been looking to Naturally Ella for recipes. The picture for this recipe enticed me enough to give it a shot! I am not a fan of garlic or onions (both hurt my stomach for some reason), so I omitted them. Check the original recipe if you’d rather add both.

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Ginger Brown Rice with Carrots
From Naturally Ella
1 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
2 hardboiled eggs, for serving
DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium low heat. Add in ginger, and cook until it becomes fragrant (roughly 2 minutes). Stir in shredded carrots and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  2. Whisk together soy sauce, honey, vinegar, and sesame seeds. Pour over carrot mixture and cook until heated through.
  3. Finally, stir in rice and cook for 3-4 minutes or until rice is warm.
  4. Serve with toasted coconut.

 

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An update on running —

I won’t run for myself these days. The only thing pulling me out of bed at 6:30/7am is either committing to Matt that I’ll pace him for some of his xx miles (he’s just a couple weeks out from his first full Ironman) or running to the BUMP coffee truck with the promise of a ride home.

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Basically I went from 0 miles to 14 in one weekend, to 16 miles a couple weekends later. The jump was brutal. At 16, I was practically limping by the end, my left knee feeling like it was tracking out for the majority of the last miles. I lacked any type of mobility and was completely unable to extend my knee.  Of course we got back to the starting point and I was still 0.2 miles short of 16, so you know I had to hobble down the block until my watch beeped 16.

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This past weekend I thought I’d be out for Halloween Friday and Saturday, but Friday ended up being pretty mellow. Since I stayed in town that night, I promised Matt I’d complete 2 of 3 laps that would give him 21 miles (and me 14) early Saturday morning. The course ended up being 100% familiar and mentally easy. My knees felt better than the weekend before, and I felt like I could run forever if my legs weren’t attached to my body.

Originally I thought I wanted to try and run the Ray Miller 50/50 (50k) on November 19th, but honestly, I don’t want to train or run consistently.  That, and it’s like 3 weekends away…

What’s your running situation these days?

Weekly Workout Recap (10/17-10/23):
Mon – 4.5 mi
Tues – Full Body @ Core40 + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – 16 mi
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 20.5 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 2
2016 miles: 743.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (10/24-10/30):
Mon – 4 mi
Tues – Full Body @ Core40 + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – Power Flow @ YogaSix
Thurs – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Fri – Mixed Level @ The Bar Method
Sat – 14 mi
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 18 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 5
2016 miles: 761.5 mi

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This past weekend London and I had planned for the ultimate La Croix costume flavor throw down — Coconut vs. Pamplemousse.  Unfortunately, London ended up being too sickly to go out, so I ended up just being a single La Croix.

I love a good creative, inexpensive costume.  We probably spent around ~$20 total for this costume.  And I feel like we caught this right on the cusp of the La Croix trend.

What you need:

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For the shirt:

  • Oversized Tshirt — H&M had some great men’s long tee’s that were perfect for this!  I bought taupe and London got a dusty rose color
  • Metallic acrylic paints
  • Cheap paint brushes and/or sponge applicator
  • Iron-on transfer sheets (we used these— came with 5 sheets for dark material– and they worked great!)
  • Printer and iron (duh)

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For the headband:

  • Silver headband — the metal material of this one (also from H&M) matched
  • Can tab
  • Hot glue gun

Directions:

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  1. Start by painting the back of the t-shirt first.  We followed the same design as the front of the La Croix cans, sans the logo.   Let dry overnight.
  2. Print the La Croix logo onto transfer paper.  I took the logo and separated it into “La” and “Croix” since the cans have a stacked logo but the La Croix logo is horizontal.  “La” and “Croix” each received their own transfer sheet (4 sheets total for 2 costumes).
  3. I also found a font that’s similar to the can flavor font (Comfortaa). I typed out the flavor names and picked up the dark blue color of the La Croix logo.  We shared a transfer sheet for “coconut” and “pamplemousse.”
  4. Cut the designs on the transfer sheet, leaving some white around.  The transfer sheets we used do not require you to mirror the image when you print this. Keep this in mind if you use this brand because I almost messed up our costumes!
  5. Follow the iron-on transfer instructions.
  6. Painting around the iron-on, follow the La Croix can design.  Let dry overnight.
  7. For the headband, apply a dot of hot glue to the thicker part of the can tab. Press off-centered onto the headband.

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This has been the season of concerts!

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In the beginning of October, London and I enjoyed a trip I originally planned for someone else.  At first it made me nervous that I’d feel a longing-ness for something that was no more, but quite the opposite actually happened.  It re-confirmed my present state of single-ness.  The ability to journey and adventure freely, without any worry for another human being.  On a Friday, after work, we headed out to Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown to see TOPS and the Allah-Las, and meet up with a couple of friends who already planned to be out there.  We spent the night camping in the back next to the horse corrals (this is a real thing). Then the next morning we headed to Joshua Tree. We grabbed some brunch from The Natural Sisters Cafe and then entered the National Park.  It was hot and already mid-day, so we opted to explore around points of interest such as Skull Rock, and the Barker Dam (which was all dried up).

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The following week I went to the Colbie Caillat acoustic tour concert with my mom as this year’s birthday gift.  My former co-worker grew up with her so we also enjoyed a special meet-and-greet before the show.

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And if that wasn’t enough, the next night I went down to the House of Blues with a couple girls to see Dan Humphrey’s band, MOTHXR (and basically indulge in my recent Gossip Girl obsession).

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In other news, the weather is warm as ever, making beach days still a possibility.  I haven’t been reading as much lately, but I have Find Her and All Is Not Forgotten in the queue.  I’ve also been hitting bootcamp at YogaSix, Pilates at Core40 and barre at The Bar Method pretty consistently.  Trying to cook more, so expect some easy and healthy recipe posts to come!

Weekly Workout Recap (10/3-10/9):
Mon – 4 mi + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Tues – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Full Body @ Core40 + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 4 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 4
2016 miles: 714.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (10/10-10/16):
Mon – 4 mi
Tues – Full Body @ Core40 + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – 4.5 mi
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Mixed Level @ The Bar Method
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 8.5 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 3
2016 miles: 723 mi

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