Friday, April 18, 2014

Seniors Take On Vegas

So after my first visit to Las Vegas last semester, I've been excited to go back. Vegas is like Disneyland for adults and being 21 is the age when the magic is out in full force. A group of seniors in my sorority house decided to plan a senior trip together to celebrate the fact that we have only a few weeks less until graduation.

So despite the fact that I'm going to Coachella this weekend and trying to save a little money, I gave my $115 for the room (14 girls in two rooms in the Venetian..shh) and packed my bags.

The weekend was spent at Hakkasan on Friday night, waking up for a coffee run jello shots and Fat Tuesday drinks before spending Saturday at the Marquee day club, and finally XS to see David Guetta on Saturday night. It was whirlwind and amazing. Instead of going into detail (half the stories are funnier in person), I'll just give some snapshots of the weekend:
Fat Tuesday in the Venetian



the group

It was one of those weekends that I know I will look back on as I remember being crazy with my sorority sisters. We spent the whole weekend together with no drama and with a group that doesn't regularly hang out, but could not have had a better time bonding. I'm not ashamed of my giant love affair with Vegas, and I know I'm going to be back soon!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Brunch in Palm Springs

Spring break was relaxed. It was the "lay in the sun until you get too hot and need to lounge in the pool" type of relaxed. I headed to Palm Springs and stayed a friend's luxurious family house where I read a book, attempted to get a tan, and ate delicious food. 

The weather was perfect in Palm Springs and the pool and community was beautiful. But, the most notable thing was the food. To be specific, brunch I had on Saturday morning. 
Also known as the BEST BRUNCH OF MY LIFE (so far). Yes, the caps are necessary and it is a very bold statement. I love my breakfast food and brunch is my favorite meal, so this statement is big one and 100% not exaggerated. 

While the rest of my week was filled with fun times--Palm Springs, Redlands, Sarah visiting, going out to eat, the Beach Club, jello shot syringes, and job applications--the one notable thing I have to blog about is this breakfast.

We went to Wilma and Frieda in Palm Desert around noon, excited and very hungry. The restaurant was in a mall next to ritzy stores and filled with fashionable retirees (aka the heart of the Palm Springs population). The restaurant already won me over when we walked in and there were small free samples of raspberry oatmeal bar pastries. Since I wanted to eat desperately, I snuck two samples and was blown away by how delicious they were.
By the time we were sat, everyone already knew what they were going to order. Andrea and I decided to get our top two choices (one savory and one sweet). We ordered the strawberry french toast and the Crabs Egg Bennie with a side of salad with poppyseed dressing.

It was hand down the best breakfast food I've ever tasted--even the salad came with delicious dressing. The Eggs Bennie came on a home-made English muffin and a TON of crab meat. Since Andrea and I are both obsessed with seafood, I appreciated that it was more than just a few pieces thrown in. The hollandaise sauce was also on the lighter side which meant the whole dish felt refreshing and perfect.

The french toast was just as equally amazing. It was more bread pudding with baked strawberries than toast and covered with fresh strawberries and a little icing. It was sweet enough to not need maple syrup and the portion was just enough to where you wanted one more bite without getting too much sweetness.

I could write poems about this brunch, and for $17 dollars including tip it was worth every penny. I've never felt the need to document a meal in awhile (my trip to Italy aside), but I can't wait until I make it to Palm Springs to eat here again. Luckily, the rest of my spring break was just as enjoyable as the brunch and included lots of pool time both at Palm Springs and back at home. I should be back in Palm Springs in a few weeks for Coachella as well, so this needs to be on the schedule!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Weekend Trip to Eugene, Oregon

A trip to Oregon has been in the making for years. One of my best friends from home and I spent all of our last semester in high school making pro and con lists for our top college choices. When I finally decided USC and she decided U of O, we promised that we would visit each other. Fast forward to senior year of college, and we both realized that the time to visit needed to happen soon.

I booked my tickets to Eugene through Allegiant Air for only $98 round trip (!). Sure the airline only had one flight in on Thursday and one flight out on Sunday and charged for not only checked but carry on luggage, but I was ecstatic about the price. Since my friend Turner and I can share clothes and I don't have Friday class, I didn't end up paying any extra fees. (Unless you count the In'n'Out bribes I made to get a ride to LAX and back.) I stuffed everything I could into a backpack for my one free personal item, and promptly fell asleep for the whole plane ride.

I got into Oregon in the afternoon, and updated Turner on my life while we drove around Eugene and through campus. While LA was about to have a huge rain storm, Eugene was beautiful with clear skies, suburbs, and pine trees all over campus. I definitely missed all the nature. Our first activity was heading to the U of O gym to take a Zumba class. After subtly finding a way to get me into the gym, we realized that we had forgotten the tickets to get in the class. Instead, we ran a few laps around the indoor track and finished with a 15 minutes on the stepper. It was fun seeing how nice their gym was (especially in comparison to our school) and I was getting a little envious.

Once we got back to Turner's apartment, we made a frozen pizza and watched some mindless TV while getting ready to go out to the bars around the area. It was a ton of fun, and as always I reveled at how cheap drinks were everywhere outside of LA. The whole night was such a good time and may have ended with us eating two boxes of gluten free mac and cheese.

Friday was a much needed lazy day with the exception of walking around campus and Turner giving me a quick tour. Since we checked campus tour off of our weekend to do list, the rest of the night was spent guilt free watching America's Next Top Model marathons, cooking a crock pot dinner, making cookies (and eating cookie dough), and talking about nothing in the best way.

In the weeks leading up to the trip, I only had one request: to eat a VooDoo donut. I may have a slight obsession with donuts* so visiting one of the more famous donut shops in the US was a bucket list item. *Actually my whole family does--it was the one dessert everyone liked, so we all went crazy. Plus any surf trips came with a guaranteed promise of a donut stop. Saturday morning, we slept in and made our way to downtown Eugene. There was a decent line, so I had time to check out all the options and look around at the hilarious signs and donut names (so many dirty puns) and decorations. In typical fashion, I got too excited once there and ordered my top 3 choices--maple bacon bar, chocolate and rice crispy with drizzled peanut butter, and a VooDoo man.

I ate the delicious maple bacon bar for breakfast (because the bacon makes it the most breakfasty, duh) as we drove to beat the rain and go shopping. I was enjoying the zero sales tax (craziness compared to CA's 9%). I obviously had not gotten into the Oregon spirit (or realization that I was going to eat three huge donuts by the end of the weekend) because while it was raining out I bought a new bikini top and Los Angeles tote bag.

After shopping and dropping off the rest of the donuts off at the apartment, Turner, her friend and I all met up to take a Top 40 workout dance class that I had heard about all weekend. It was a different teacher than usual so the class turned out to be more comical than anything, but it felt good to be active and work off at least part of the donut.

And speaking of the donuts, I ate half the rice crispy donut between the workout class and dinner just because it was unbelievably delicious.

Turner's boyfriend and friend joined us for dinner and we went out to a local restaurant that for the life of me I can't remember the name of. After sharing an order of cajun tater tots with the table (which we were told was a necessity), I ordered a mushroom sandwich with cheese and sun dried tomatoes which I happily demolished.

To celebrate our last night together, we headed out again to the bars for one more night out. After dancing and bar hopping, we ended our night with late night Taco Bell (plus the last half of the rice crispy donut) and having heart to hearts. The whole weekend was so much fun, and it was nice to spend it with such a good friend and in a new place. Instead of it feeling like a trip, being in Eugene felt exactly like being home and hanging out with my high school friends. This visit was in the making for 4 years and it was great to finally come the full circle from senior year of high school to senior year of college together.

PS When I got up early to catch my plane, I ate half of my VooDoo donut. It had a pretzel stick through its heart and jelly filling on the inside when you bit it. Very clever and a huge relief that apparently I was starting to get my fill of donuts for the weekend.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Bang Bang (Guns and Stuff in LA)

It's Valentine's day! So let's talk about guns, sausages, and beer!

I'm currently waiting for Scott to get out of class to have some adventures around Redlands, so I thought I would celebrate now by talking about last week's "Explore LA" date. Last Friday, Scott was in town for my sorority invite (in which we were decked out as Hugh Hefner and a Playboy bunny). Usually, the following Saturday we catch up on all our shows and have a lazy day, but this time my house was holding a conference.

The conference left us with no where to stay, so we decided to spend the day out and about downtown. After a quick lunch (breakfast?) at Pizza Studio, we drove to the LA Gun Club by the arts district in Downtown LA. I knew a few people who had gone before, and it was on my "do before I graduate" list.

Scott and I had never shot a gun--I don't think I've even held one--so I was getting the nervous/excited feeling as we walked in. I'm not sure what I expected from a gun club, but I was shocked at all the options and was getting antsy as we took our numbers and waited to be called.

Luckily, we seemed to have beat the large crowd that came in after us, and soon we were talking to an employee about the best gun for beginners. The place gets mostly beginners looking for a fun activity, so I was't self conscious asking a bunch of questions. I wish I could remember the name of the guns we used, but we started off by renting a handgun that I can only describe as the Russian roulette type. I picked a target, and we were given headphones, glasses, and an aisle number.

We had bought a round of 50 to share, and I started off the first shot. Even with my first bad couple shots, the experience was exhilarating. I also was shocked at how well I got the hang of it. By the time I had finished my portion of the rounds (we switched off every barrel), I was spending most of the time admiring my handiwork.

Scott and I ended up having so much fun that we decided to rent another gun and go for one more round. This time we went for a semi automatic handgun that the army uses, and grabbed another target. This gun had more of a kick to it, and all my previous "skills" from before were completely gone. I think I only hit my target about 5 times throughout the whole practice. Scott on the other hand was killing it, and getting everything on target.

Finally, our bullets had run out, and we decided to finish up. We were there for probably about 2.5 hours (including wait time), and the club doesn't rush you to finish which was really great. The whole thing cost about $70 between two people so it was a fairly affordable date (as long as you split it) and was an adrenaline pumping activity. It was so much more fun than I expected, and it's always fun when even after 7 years there are still "firsts" for Scott and I to do together.

Our next stop was at a popular restaurant in the arts district called Wurstkuche for an early dinner.
It sells sausages and imported Belgian and German beers, and is one of those hipster-y restaurants that actually lives up to its reputations (so I heard). It was my first time eating there, and I ordered a simple kielbasa and German beer while Scott got the same (different beer) and fries. The food reminded me of Prague but even better. Ok, so Prague's kielbasa will always hold a special place in my heart but having a bun to eat it with instead of a single piece of dark bread was an improvement. 

It was so much fun just hanging out and eating good food, and by the time we got back to school we had just enough time to squeeze in two episodes of Community before Scott left. It was one of the more perfect weekends I've had all semester. A party with friends, adrenaline, good food, and Scott visiting makes for an amazing couple of days.

Now I just need him to get out of class!