A wonderful weekend

Hi everybody! *waves hello*

I hope you had a lovely weekend. I know I sure did! I’ve been catching up with the hustle bustle from the holidays, and have also started a new full-time social media job (working from home! score!). It’s been a very exciting past few weeks in my household. This weekend was a 3 day weekend for me, and I had a jam-packed few days full of fun. To start, me and my gym buddies all got pedicures. I spoil myself about once a month for a pedicure, and the expense is well worth the hour of relaxation. Don’t our toes look adorable?

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Then, on Saturday, Matt and I enjoyed being spoiled Southern Californians by heading to Malibu, where we frolicked in the surf and sunbathed. 80 degrees on January 18. Yep, that’s pretty spoiled. It was funny because about five feet from our beach sheet, there was a Land’s End catalog shoot going on. The models were wearing big, chunky sweaters over bikini bottoms, and you could tell they were going for the Cape Cod / Nantucket type feel. Not in LA, baby… our beach days here are nice and warm.

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We hiked up to a lookout point above the beach, where the clear sky was a breathtaking backdrop to the blue ocean. Isn’t the view amazing?

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I scuttled around this canyon type thing, and had fun doing some tricep dips as I crawled through. I’m trying to squeeze in exercise wherever I can!

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After the beach, we saw Her. I’m still wrapping my head around that movie; I liked it, sure, but what an odd concept. Sadly it’s a concept that I can see becoming true in the very near future. We already have Siri, how long until our operating systems become our best friends and confidantes and therapists and doctors? Crazy, right?! You should go see it and tell me what you think.

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Today, we woke up early and headed to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. Right now, avocados, oranges, kale, cabbage, onions, potatos, bok choy and different lettuces are the stars of the season. I bought some organic carrots, celery, heirloom tomatoes, and bacon avocados for meals this week. I also picked up a half gallon of raw milk, because I made my own cheese! My dad got me this Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit for Christmas, and I’d been impatiently waiting for a weekend day to make my own mozzerella. More about that in a minute, but first I have to show you the delicious brunch I had today with my friend Timmy, new friends Chris and Travis, and Matt. Our friend Tim’s roommate’s boyfriend (got that?) lives in a beautiful midcentury modern house in the LA hills, and we were invited over today for a super yummy brunch of mimosas, cornflake crusted french toast, hash browns, and red pepper eggs. It was deeeeelicious and was the perfect “cheat meal” to close out my weekend. After we ate, we played Cards Against Humanity (which I am so buying, like now. Damn! I can’t, it’s sold out) and had a grand time guffawing at the incredibly offensive word combinations we came up with. It was an awesome, low key Sunday with delicious food, belly laughs, and great company.

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Now, back to the cheese! A few people have asked me if I’m going to blog the “how to”, but to be honest, I don’t really know how other than to follow the instructions in the booklet that came with the kit. I was nervous about making it, but truthfully, it’s a pretty easy process as long as you measure the temperature of the whey and stick to the general time guidelines. We used raw milk, which is unpasteurized and made me feel all hippie-anarchist. I even drank a little bit…. tastes exactly like “normal” milk. Some people speculate that raw milk can help ease allergies — curious! I’m not a huge milk drinker in general, otherwise I might give that a try. So basically making mozzarella was pretty simple. Here’s a nifty little instagram video I did of it.

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The end result? YUM! It’s not as salty or as squeaky as store-bought cheese, but it has a very light, milky taste. I found it the perfect backdrop for our dinner of caprese salad — sliced heirloom tomatoes with cheese, basil olive oil, salt and pepper. Amazing. AND, one last wonderful thing about this weekend? I put on my previously too tight to button jeans, and while they’re still snug, they button. They’re wearable 🙂 YAY!

So there’s my weekend in a nutshell. I feel so lucky to get the things I get to do — spend time with awesome people, play in sunny So Cal’s awesome beaches, make and enjoy delicious food. I hope you had an equally excellent weekend. So tell me, what did you do this weekend? What was the highlight?

The Big Pick

Remember how a bunch of volunteers came and harvested our orange trees a few months ago? Well, today we gave back to our community and this time, we were the harvesters! Food Forward LA was hosting their annual “Big Pick” at my university, CSUN, and today alongside 298 other volunteers, Matt and I helped harvest close to 15,000 pounds of oranges that were donated to Southern California Food Banks.

A regular old pair of Fruit Loops

Here’s a few thoughts about today’s act of volunteerism:

1) Orange Picking is hard work. I have a new appreciation for the people that pick my food. After an hour of arching my arms and neck up towards the sky and pulling on the flexi-rake thing to try and pluck down oranges, I was tired, and feeling lazy. Thankfully, some free coffee and swell tunes put the swing back in my step in no time.

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2) Hard work is always, always worth it when there’s a reward at the end (there usually is). Today the reward was knowing that four simple hours of our lives resulted in the full tummies of families across Los Angeles.

A SMALL section of the Bounty!

3) The smell of citrus, tangy and sweet, is one of the best on earth. It’s impossible not to breathe in deep as the crisp, aromatic smell of orange juice wafts by you.

Thumbs up for the sweet citrus smell!

4) Stepping on rotten oranges is fun. ‘Nuff said. They pop like a water balloon under your shoe – and hey, they’ll compost faster if they’re broken down. Step on it!

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... Matt in a tree!

5) Matt has astounding climbing abilities. He scurried up the trees like a monkey and filled his orchard bag in record time, as I jealously looked on from the floor.

REACH!

6) If you’re harvesting tree fruit, you just might get hit on the head. As I pulled down an orange, another fell next to it and landed right on my noggin. THUD. I’m going to consider it good luck.

If you’re in the LA area, you really should consider volunteering a few hours of your time to Food Forward. Sunshine, oranges and helping people – what’s not to love? Till ‘next time – get your vitamin C – and have an orangetastic day!