soy milk

Birthday week fun

My birthday week started last weekend with apple picking.

After that we headed to lunch at Mendocino Farms.  As much as I love the place, it’s not conveniently located for me.  But since we had already been in the car for well over an hour, we figured what’s an extra few miles out of the way?


Kyle got the Modern Tuna Melt which has “all white Albacore tuna with fresh herbs, farm house cheddar, vegenaise, housemade pickles, red onions, tomatoes, Scarborough Farm’s greens on panini grilled buckwheat.”  He nixed the pickles, obviously, and deemed it the best tuna melt he’s ever had.


I got the Traditional Vegan Club which has “house marinated organic vegan tempeh bacon with smashed avocado, vegenaise, pickled red onion, tomatoes, Scarborough Farm’s greens on buckwheat.”  Only I swapped the buckwheat for the gluten free bread, which was a delicious poppy seed thing.  Yum!


We also split the lentil soup and spinach salad.  Good stuff.

The rest of the weekend was relaxing and I even won my fantasy football game.  My team is (maybe) making a comeback????


I used my apples and baked some cinnamon rolls stuffed with peanut butter and vegan nutella and sautéed apples.  I know I keep teasing you, but I will post the recipe soon.  Pinky promise.


I attempted vegan caramel with brown rice syrup and almond milk, but it didn’t work at all.  Way too thin.  I tried to get it to thicken and added a ton of chia seeds, but it was a no go.  Oh well.

Unfortunately, this kitchen failure meant my sweet craving was left high and dry.  So I had caramel apples on the brain for the rest of the night…and then the whole next day.


So I remedied the situation. 🙂  I ate this in a few servings because I didn’t want to pound my body with all that sugar at once.  At the time I thought I was being so good, eating my treat in moderation.  Little did I know I’d failed my glucose tolerance test the day before.  So now that I’m dealing with that, I don’t know how many more sugary treats I’ll be enjoying for the remaining few months of this pregnancy (it’s not like I was doing that before but whatever).  I guess I’ll know more once I take the fasting glucose tolerance test.


To be perfectly honest, I’m pretty annoyed I had to drink this nasty sh!t.  Of all the times to ingest fake chemicals and food dyes.  Ugh!  I can’t believe pregnant women are required to do this!  Can’t they figure out a more natural way to serve up glucose?  The worst part is I have to do it all over again now in a few days.

Ok, I’ll stop whining about it now.  Back to birthday week stuff.


Here we are watching the Giants seal the deal against the Cards.

The next morning was my real birthday so I woke up and opened presents with my mom.  Then we went to brunch at Shutters on the Beach.

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They have a few restaurants, but this was their right-on-the-beach-front breakfast spot, Coast.


I got chai tea with soy milk to drink (which I only steeped for 30 seconds so it wasn’t very caffeinated).  To eat, I got the Coast vanilla waffle with strawberries and bananas and a fried egg.


My mom got the Lemon ricotta pancakes with berries and a latte.


Lovely start to the day.


And the weather could not have been more perfect.  We walked back home along the beach, stopping at the Pier on the way.

The rest of the day was mellow.  I went for a run and before I knew it I had to get ready for my dinner date.


I drove out to the Silver Lake/Echo Park area to see my bestie Ethel.  She surprised me with vegan cupcakes and a mix cd (both of which I forgot at her place – oops!).

After we shared a pre-dinner banana cupcake from Lark Cake Shop (I was still freshly freaking out about my high blood glucose test, so I only had a few bites), we headed to dinner.

We were so excited to finally hit up Cru, a highly recommended raw vegan hot spot.  But when we got there it was closed!!!!  No!!!  The website is still up and doesn’t indicate anything about it being closed, so I’m unsure if this is a permanent thing or not.  Apparently it was open a month ago, so I’m not sure why or when this happened, but it’s definitely a loss for LA.  Cru was one of the few restaurants that (supposedly) rivaled Pure Food & Wine and the likes.

In any event, the area has plenty of vegan options, so our plan B was hardly a disappointment.


Mohawk Bend is a restaurant and bar in Echo Park that focuses on fresh and locally sourced fare.  It’s been on my radar for a while because it’s sister restaurant, Golden Road Brewing, is really close to where Kyle works and my cousin’s family lives.  They’ve all been there and raved about it (insert a bit of jealousy).

The owner (of both places) is vegan which is why the menu is loaded with animal-free options.  Unlike most restaurants, Mohawk Bend’s menu says it’s vegan unless noted otherwise.  Love it!

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My lovely date.  🙂  I was going to go with water, but I decided to live it up (since it was my birthday and all).  So I got a lemon/lime soda water spritzer thing.  It was sweetened with agave and tasted so refreshing.  Ethel got a ginger beer.  Mmm.

I’ll have to go back once I’m not pregnant because the beer menu is massive.


Since Ethel had been to Mohawk Bend previously, she knew that an order of the Buffalo Style Cauliflower was a must.  It came with celery and a vegan “bleu cheese” dressing.  OH. MY. WOW.  I want this recipe.  I’ve never tasted cauliflower like this.


Next we got the Hearts Of Palm “crabcake” with corn relish and smoked paprika aioli.  Fabulous!  I didn’t taste much heart of palm actually, but it did taste crab like.  Somehow.  No clue.  I tried to figure out what it had in it – if I had to guess it was a potato-seaweed-esque flavor.  Definitely good with a crispy fried exterior and soft “crabcake” inside.


Finally, we split the Vegan Banh Mi pizza.  It had marinated tofu, pickled carrots & daikon, jalapenos, herb salad, and sriracha aioli.

It was really really really good, but there was one issue.  The jalapenos.  Can you see them above?  Probably not since they’re hidden below the mint and cilantro, but there were tons and I made the mistake of eating one.


And ended up having to ice my lips for 15 minutes to recover sensation.  So much tingling!  Ethel had the same problem and we were both rendered helpless for a significant portion of the meal due to the numbness.

We picked off the rest of the jalapenos for sure.


After dinner we were off to the concert.  Ethel took me to see Shiny Toy Guns at the Echoplex and even though they got off to a (way) late start, it was a fun concert and I’m glad I finally ventured away from the westside for this fun.

I was worried about the volume but my baby boy was kicking away the whole night.  I think this counts as his first concert.  🙂

I didn’t get back to Santa Monica until 12:30 but then I had to pick up Kyle at his hotel (he had a business thing all week) because he forgot dress socks.  We swooped by our house and then went back to the hotel, which meant my bedtime was the latest it’s ever been since this whole pregnancy began.


Since I slept over at his hotel I decided to take advantage.  Room service!


Fried eggs and home style potatoes with chai tea and soy milk.


What more can I take advantage of while Kyle’s at work?  How about the gym!


I can’t remember the last time I went to a gym.  It was fun to zone out on the elliptical to crappy tv.  I put in a good 30 minutes and then walked to WF for lunch.

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Left: birthday present from my parents
Right: tofu stroganoff with mega veggies and quinoa


Later that night I met back up with my mom for another birthday dinner at Akasha in Culver City.  She brought my g-ma (she’d been visiting with her while I did the concert/hotel thing) and my aunt and cousin also joined.

I had such a great time, but that’s because I have the best family ever.  It didn’t hurt that the Giants game was on at the bar area.

I got the ginger lemonade to start (it was stellar).

And then we got two orders of the frog hollow farms pear salad to share.  It had pomegranate, mizuna, toasted pumpkin seeds, and a pear lemon vinaigrette.


Light and lovely.


For my dinner I chose the special which was a coconut curry scallop dish.  It had rice and greens and three scallops swimming in the most flavorful coconut curry sauce.  It had quite a kick at times, but I loved it.  I only managed to get through half of it though.  Leftovers!


We also split a side order of the brussels sprouts, which were almost the best thing I ate all night.  Whatever they did with the balsamic and mustard seed marinade was amazing because they managed to make Brussels sprouts taste like light fluffy potato chips.  So good!!


But what’s a birthday without a candle to blow out (and your family mortifying you by singing at the top of their lungs?

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We got two desserts, including the salty chocolate peanut bar (which I sampled liberally) and the dark chocolate torte.  The first had a chocolate spelt crust, candied peanuts, sea salt, caramel, and peanut butter gelato.  There’s no greater combo than salty and sweet, is there?  The second was one of the daily specials and basically looked like chocolate heaven.

Such a fun night.

The next day my mom and I slept in and walked to Huckleberry for breakfast.  I can’t believe it’s been so long since I ate here.  We used to live right across the street, but since we moved (a whole 3 blocks further) it’s not as frequently on our radar.  Well, that and we’re really trying to save money, which means restaurants on special occasions only.


I’ve gotten this dish before.  It’s quinoa, kale and butternut squash topped with two sunny-side up eggs.  I actually ate the entire thing, too, which was definitely an anomaly.


My mom got a blueberry scone, two scrambled eggs, and a latte.


After breakfast we had a few errands to run, but eventually ended up at the mall for some maternity clothes shopping.  Oh boy.  It’s really nice to finally have some diversity in my wardrobe.  I was getting pretty sick of wearing the same few things on rotation, so now I’m set for a while.

It was pretty funny trying things on because they had a pillow to strap around your waist that supposedly added 3 months.  In other words, the pillow makes me full term and ready to give birth.  Yikes, that seems soon!!!

The rest of the day was mellow.  We went for a long walk.  Stopped by giggle to look at baby stuff.  Hit up WF for dinner and groceries.  Watched the Giants win (again!).  And then I got ready for work the next day.

What a week!!

I’m so glad my mom was in town to make my 30th birthday as fun as it was.  To say I’m excited for the year(s) ahead is an understatement.  I don’t feel like I’m 30 years old, but I’m as happy as can be right now, and feeling very blessed to have a wonderful husband, family & friends, a baby on the way, a beautiful house near the beach, and a job that I enjoy.  I pinch myself every day.

Four day weekend [part 2]

Laziness continued.

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A perfect Sunday morning (“morning” being used loosely since I slept in a LOT).

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Random fact: I really love fruit salad but I never make it because I like it when it’s already at least a day old.  That means I have to plan ahead so I get the exact level of oxidized fruit.  I also think that bananas are the essence of any good fruit salad. 


That’s why I made this salad the night before. 

It had apples, strawberries, pineapple, blackberries, and bananas

If it had had grapes it would’ve been perfect.  I only had minimal amounts of apples and blackberries (FODMAPs).  So good.  I should start every day with pounds of fruit because it makes me feel so clean and pure.  Fabulous.

The things is, it doesn’t hold my appetite for very long.


So later on I had a cinnamon roll and scrambled eggs (2).

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I never really had meals for the rest of the day…instead I grazed the afternoon away. 

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Snacks: open faced Peanut Butter & Co. crunch time on toasted artisan bread & TJ’s dark chocolate caramel with black sea salt.

The best part of the weekend came next…


What do you get when you have a new house (with a backyard) and a Home Dept gift card?

Green children!! 


Look at my new babies!  🙂

It took a while to figure out where to start.  I went in open minded, but I did have a general game plan.  I knew I wanted a few herbs and probably a tomato plant.  I was also considering some leafy greens. 

Lately I have been reading up on gardening.  I am a long way from raised beds, but soon our yard will look more legit than my former situation.


I chose three organic and local herbs – sweet basil, sage, and parsley

Why these?  Well, recently I’ve been using both basil and parsley quite a bit (herbs are crucial to give FODMAPs free meals flavor since onion and garlic are out).  Sage was an impulse buy, but I know it pairs well with squash (especially butternut), which is something Kyle and I both adore.

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After picking my herbs, I browsed the other veggies.  It was hard to not go crazy and get one of everything.  Bell peppers, eggplant, and squash, oh my!!  But I knew I had to start slow.  Plus I’m limited further in that I have to use pots (our backyard is paved so there’s no dirt plot).

Thanks to my mom’s help, I went with a sweet 100 tomato, which is apparently delicious and prolific. 

Next, I went in search of greens.  I read that kale is relatively pest free and can survive through almost any climate.  And chard is a nice filler plant that’s best planted in May, so I figured they could both share a massive pot.  Home Depot didn’t have any that were already sprouted though, so I got seeds.  Plus spinach seeds for good measure.  We’ll see how it all goes once I plant them.  I will probably hold off on the spinach for now and just try the kale and chard first.

Finally, I got three HUGE pots to plant them in.  I’m so excited.


From L to R: tomato, parsley, sage, basil. 

Back at the casa, I changed into my bathing suit for more backyard lounging.

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Magazines and smokehouse almonds.  The almond munching continued for a few cups (eeek!) more before I got a handle on myself.  These gosh darn freakin’ nuts!!!


Once again, I used the dog as an excuse to get away from them.  We walked Buck, played ball with Maggie, and hot tubbed at the community pool.

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Snacking through happy hour with chips with hummus and snapea crisps.

Dinner: avocado sushi rolls and leftover rice & quinoa with Field Roast vegan sausage and veggies

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I had raw carrots (dipped in more hummus), but Kyle requested steamed broccoli


Unfortunately, he had to take a call right as we I sat down to eat, so his broccoli was on the softer side of steamed by the time he ate.

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In lieu of my typical coconut ice cream dessert I went for more hummus. 

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Mary’s Gone Crackers with hummus.  On the late night, I had two big bowls of cereal.  This turned out to be a bad call on my part.  I forgot we only had soy milk (not almond milk) at the house and wound up mixing two FODMAPs categories in a pretty sizeable amount.  The aftermath was mild at the time, but the next day I felt so so bloated and uncomfortable.  It was definitely not worth it.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had soymilk so combining it with (wheat) cereal truly pissed off my GI tract.  And it let me know it.

The next morning we did errands around the house and once the place was cleaned up we headed home. 

Four day weekend [part 1]

Is there anything better than a long weekend?  Yes.  And that’s a long weekend house dog sitting here.


With sunny weather, golf course views, and a well stocked fridge, there’s no reason to venture further than the community pool.  Agreed?





We drove down to San Juan Capistrano on Thursday evening and stayed through Monday.  Some friends joined us for part of the time.  We cooked.  We ate.  We drank.  We relaxed.  The weekend may as well be titled “blissful nothingness”.  It was perfect.

When we first arrived, the priority was dinner.  That’s what 3 hours of traffic will do to you.

Apps: Sabra’s roasted red pepper hummus and Mary’s Gone Crackers organic herb crackers

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These are two of my faves (and my in-laws know it).  Don’t think I don’t know how ridiculously lucky I am.  They spoil me rotten.

Dinner: Field Roast vegan sausage and wild rice

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Post-meal I was feeling inspired so I decided to bake cinnamon rolls for the weekend.

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I pulled up this recipe, gathered the ingredients, and got to work.


It’s not easy baking in someone else’s kitchen!!  It took three times as long because every single thing took forever to find.


But I still ended up with these beauties.

As much as I wanted to dig in right away, I saved them for breakfasts (and our friends).

Dessert: So Delicious vanilla bean coconut ice cream with strawberries and forte breakfast tea with Silk soymilk

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Our friends arrived after midnight, so I was up super late and ended up sleeping in ‘til 9 am on Friday morning.

I woke up to a text from Kyle saying they were almost within view from the backyard.  So I made my way out to watch them play a hole.


Pretty cool thing to roll out of bed to see…

Breakfast followed.


Breakfast: cinnamon rolls, coffee, & sunshine.


Doughy. 🙂

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When the boys got back we went for a walk to the pool.


As you can see we had a tight schedule to keep [that’s four days worth of “tasks”].

Once noon rolled around it was deemed an acceptable time to crack some beers.

I held off because I’m a light weight and starting so early in the day is a recipe to pass out by 2 pm.  Instead I made some lunch.


Lunch: spinach salad with strawberries, avocado, and a quinoa & lentil salad (brought by our friends).


Who needs the golf channel when you can watch the games live from your backyard?


After noon snacks: chips and guacamole.

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Salt is just so addicting.


This chip had a death grip on the bowl.

Lazy days.


Despite the kilos of chips and booze we all consumed, we ended up putting together a pretty legit dinner.


It was a team effort, with Kyle on the BBQ…

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…me on the veg fare…

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…and the rest of the party on chopping and food prep.

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Maggie and Buck were on scrap patrol.

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Ready, set, dig in.

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Dinner: grilled pineapple and onions, Field Roast vegan sausages, corn on the cob, quinoa & rice pilaf, and a simple green salad


I made the quinoa and salad, and added the same dressing to both.

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • lemon juice & zest
  • apple cider vinegar
  • water
  • honey

Light and summery with a bit of tang.


Even though our friends aren’t vegan, we all shared the Field Roast sausage.  The three flavors include:

Italian – made with fresh eggplant and packed with fennel, red wine, garlic and sweet peppers

Mexican Chipotle – a spicy-hot blend of smoked Chipotle peppers, Chili de Arbol peppers, fresh chopped garlic, sweet onions seasoned with cumin seed and oregano

Smoked Apple Sage – a savory combination of apples and sage anchored with yukon gold potatoes with a subtle hint of hickory smoke

Funny enough, we all had different favorites.  I prefer the smoked apple sage.  It’s mild enough to go with or in anything but still packed with flavor.  Kyle loves the Mexican chipotle.  It was too spicy for everyone else though.  Todd and Kelly liked the Italian ones.

Dessert: fresh strawberries and So Delicious coconut ice cream (again)


We ended the night with quality broadcasting, including Aziz Ansari’s stand-up and R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet.  Intellectual stuff.

Saturday was more of the same..sleeping in til 9…coffee…cinnamon rolls…etc.


Our friends headed back to the Westside around noon, so we decided to be semi-productive and wash the car.

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I helped wash, but left the vacuuming to Kyle (during which I attempted to even out my hideous shorts tan from the day before).  Nobody need comment on the burn, I’ve already kicked myself for it multiple times.

Scrubbing the bugs off the windshield counted as my workout for the day (just go with it) which worked up my appetite ever so slightly.  Not really, but I’m trying not to feel like a total glutton since I subsequently pounded over 2 cups of Blue Diamond smokehouse almonds.

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Prior to this weekend I had never tried these…and OH MY GOSH they are so addicting.  It’s like salty, savory, BBQ flavor to the nth degree.  It’s pretty much impossible to have fewer than 50 in one sitting.  Freakin’ nuts.

The only way I was able to pry myself from them was by taking Buck on a walk.


The views are outstanding, but I especially loved chasing the lizards.  No success.  I did see a few fuzzy caterpillars though.


My phone was having a hard time focusing on them and kept doing this weird thing where it would flip around to take self pics instead.  Anyone else noticed this problem with their iPhone?  I ended up with a lot of these.


Siri, please face the other way.

After the walk we went hot tubbing, both as a way of cleaning off the dog hair and stench.  Don’t worry, I showered too.  I’m not that lazy.

For dinner, I took advantage of the fridge’s produce drawers and made some buttery mashed potatoes.  That’s what happens when Southern Living catalogs are in your face all day long.


I balanced it out with a big salad (from leftovers).

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Boil water.  Cut potatoes in chunks.  Once potatoes are soft (test by piercing with fork), drain water.  Add milk (I used Silk creamer because that was all we had) and Earth Balance.  Mash.  Add salt and pepper to taste.



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I topped the taters off with even more Earth Balance.  The salad was the same as the previous night’s with leftover Field Roast sausage added in.


I had seconds of the mashed potatoes, but practiced a little bit of self control after that.  Only because I knew that dessert was around the corner.

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Coconut ice cream!

The late night baking bug hit yet again, so I answered the call.


Banana beer bread.

Similar to this recipe, but with sweeter ingredients added in.


The Koko Brown Ale was the star of the show (we got a Costco variety pack of Kona Brewing Co. Aloha series and nobody liked the coconut flavor as a beverage).  So I decided to use it for baking!

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The bread was wet as a dough, but turned out pretty awesome.  Smelled like banana and coconut and brew.


This post is getting fairly lengthy (which is surprising since it’s full of nothingness), so I’ll cut it off here and continue with the rest of the weekend later).

Primo Passion Project

Primo Passo Coffee Co. opened in March and in spite of it’s location (across the street from Starbucks and a few blocks away from Caffe Luxxe), it seems to be doing pretty well.

Kyle has been twice, but yesterday was my first visit.  I don’t frequent Montana Ave as often now that we’ve moved.  Not that we are that much further away now, but it was nice to see our old ‘hood again. 

PPC co is on Montana and 7th.


The interior felt minimalist and modern.  Like they just want you to focus on the coffee.  And it’s stumptown coffee

Primo Passo, by the way, means “first step” in Italian, which is very fitting in a caffeine dependent society.  There’s not much I can or will do in the morning before I have a cup of joe.


Kyle met the owner and learned that he and his wife have been dreaming of opening this kind of boutique coffee shop for quite some time.  It’s not even their main source of income…just a passion project they wanted to make a reality. 


Pour over coffee.  Looks like Blue Bottle has some competition.

Say hi Kyle!  HI!


Even though the inside is open and spacious, the seating is scarce.  I’m guessing they are trying to avoid becoming the study spot for Starbucks’ spillover.

The menu is also pretty minimalist.  They have some baked goods, which are from Farmshop at the Brentwood Country Mart.

They use Straus organic milk and for their non-dairy beverages Pacific soy blender (also organic).  I didn’t even think to ask if they had almond milk.  Next time. 


Their drinks are pretty pricey.  Above is an iced soy mocha which cost $5.  All their iced drinks are double shots though, so that’s a win.  I suppose if you’re going to charge $4 for a cup of coffee, Montana Ave is the place to do it.  These Palisades people certainly aren’t short on cash.  🙂

DC preview

Thursday through Monday I was in our nation’s capital. 


Some of the highlights (full stories to come):

1. If anyone is traveling through LAX or DCA in the near future, you may see my photo posted on a wanted sign.  I broke bent the law and as much as I want to tell you all about it, I should probably speak to my lawyer before I post anything on the internet.  😉

Ok, I’m just kidding.  What happened was I forgot to bring my wallet with me – including my ID – and had to pretend that I was a minor to get through security.  Kyle’s mom pretended she was my mom (while Kyle went through security separately) so now I am officially his sister wife.  Ha!

In reality, our departure from LAX was no problem.  It was Washington DC’s security that really hassled me.  I’m horrible at lying so why I thought to follow through with the “I am 17 years old” act when questioned is beyond me.  I have never been so scared.  When asked my birthday I got completely frazzled and said my actual year (1982) and then quickly changed my answer to 1992.  Neither year makes me 17, but I guess the security officer couldn’t do basic math either because he ended up letting me through. 


2. Fresh polish is very important for weekend trips. 


3. So is chocolate.  The above spread is complements of Kyle’s grandma.  Kinda insane, but I like where her priorities are.

4. The weather was SO gorgeous for the first two days of our trip, I almost forgot why we left the East Coast.  And then it poured non-stop and cabs were impossible to flag down and indoor dining was packed and I lost feeling in my toes and fell even deeper in love with Southern California.


Poor Kyle!  He didn’t really have umbrella access while pushing his grandma in her wheelchair (after the taxi driver dropped us off 5 blocks from our actual destination).  Thanks Mr. Cabbie.

5.  I’m not sure if others are aware of this, but Toms aren’t the greatest rain shoes.  What do you do after a day of wading through puddles? 


Hair dryer?  Nope. 

Find a nearby shoe store?  Yup.


It was Earth Day, the least I could do was buy a new pair of vegan shoes.  Yes, I bought a child’s size (5).  [Remember, I am a minor after all!]

The lighting is weird in the photo above, but they are SOOO cute.  Plus the kid’s Toms are cheaper than the women’s ones.  Plus the store was having an event for Earth Day.  Plus the act of shopping is practically philanthropy work since they give a pair to a child in need.

I tried to buy them and then remembered (for the umpeenth time on the trip) that I didn’t have a wallet.  Annoying!!!  So I had to call Kyle to get his credit card and ID and go back to buy them.  By the time I got home, I was dangerously close to losing my toes calf to frostbite.


They had artists at the store to paint your old Toms (if you wanted a new look). 

6. The one main thing I wanted to see in DC was the Titanic exhibit at the National Geographic Museum.

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Anyone living in the DC area should go.  It was awesome.

7. I also realllly wanted to go to Sticky Fingers, but I didn’t make it.  :(  I can’t stop thinking about cinnamon rolls.


Luckily LPQ was across the street from our hotel.  Their vegan baked goods are pretty awesome too.

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Vegan carrot cake with citrus icing and pistachios.  Yes please.

8. I had two waffles with a banana and coffee every morning. 


We stayed at the Georgetown Suites (we’ve stayed here before) and their brunch was pretty awesome.  Very vegan friendly.


Of course, Kyle’s dad went to Whole Foods too, so the fridge also had the very important items that were absent from the hotel buffet (like organic soy creamer). 

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And berries.  And fancy bread.  And good coffee.

9. I love all the Smithsonians, but the American History Museum was really cool. 


Pop culture!  The hippie movement!  A really really old EKG machine!


10. Family time!!! 


Sorry for the cheesy ending, but I feel so blessed to be able to travel with my family.  We were three generations deep and it was a blast.