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This is the story all about how our lives got flip turned upside down! We moved across the country from the suburbs of Chicago to Los Angeles. We are embracing our new life with outdoor living, healthy eating and fun adventures!

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Labor Day - Well Stated

Labor Day - some may consider this a break from the labors of work. I, however, took the day literally and decided to work my butt off! How you ask? Well, with the help of a trusty husband and equally irresponsible younger sister - we worked it this past weekend and hiked the mountains!

I include this image to show how non-sweaty and pretty we still look. Please refer back once you see the "after."

The hike started out innocent enough - pleasant inclines and a brief jaunt to a cool-ish tee-pee and a waterfall. Things went horribly wrong somewhere around this beautiful waterfall!


You see, my irresponsible sister and I forgot our water bottles on this "lovely" 90+ degree day and relied on my lovely Brian for water support. He, being the ever prepared wilderness man had a full camel-back backpack with water for all of us! We even got to refill at a drinking fountain near the waterfall! We felt hydrated, fit and ready for a challenge. Cue the labor part of this Labor Day.

Rather than take the easy way home and backtrack on the trail, we decided to push ahead and take the long way...turns out the long way is an entirely up hill battle. To get out of the park you have to hike up and around the entire f-ing mountain! That was bad. What was worse - the entire uphill path has NO shade. Like not even a little. Buckets of sweat later, I sat defeated on the side of a hill demanding that we turn around. Brian, with map-in-hand clearly shows that just one more turn and we will be on flat land and near the car.

So...I walked one more turn. You know what I saw? More uphill mountain. About this time, Emily started feeling the defeat as well. As we dragged our feet in the dirt, heaving our bodies on, we discussed the possibilities of Brian not really knowing where he was going. Emily started sharing horror stories she'd heard of boyscouts getting lost on hikes and dying in the wilderness. Brian grew frustrated!

He decided we were in mild heat stroke and low blood sugar. He busted out some Cliff Gel Packs - they are like little low-calorie drinks of heaven. Well, they actually tasted like disgusting, hot candy (to me) or delicious hot fudge sauce (to Em). Anyways, they are full of caffeine to give you a burst of energy. I think they were designed for people who were really hot and tired on the side of a mountain!

Not event 10 minutes later we were hiking like champs! We were also past the worst of the uphill battle and had made it to even ground. Not sure what the saving grace was...but we made it back to the car!

I really liked how this picture showed hos disgusting Em and I got compared to the pre-sweat before picture!


Now it was time for another life-risking move...Emily was driving us home...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

We're The Millers

I randomly won tickets yesterday to go see a pre-screening of We're The Millers! I got lost in the Internet on Saturday and went from researching Lion King theatre tickets to somehow learning that you don't have to pay for movie tickets in LA if you sign up for a few websites that enter you for pre-screens.

So I answered the phone yesterday and they were confirming my details for attendance at the movie last night. It was incredibly easy - I just showed up and checked in, we grabbed a quick bite and got in line for entrance. I guess it can get really crowded but we got decent seats and had very little issue.


The highlight (aside from the free movie) was the crowd-watching. We got further proof of the douche-ness that exists in LA and also the humor in the crazies. Some guy sitting in front of us just kept yelling out obscenities at the DJs hosting the event. He was later asked to move a seat over to accommodate a couple that needed seats. He moved over and an old Asian couple sat down next to him and he started chatting them up like they were BFFs! Our favorite was that he was explaining penis jokes to them during the film. I wish I could have been down there to hear exactly what was being said!

So the movie got one (Brian's) thumb up. I thought the funniest part was the Bloopers at the end!

Fun "free" night. Free if you didn't have to pay for parking in this great city!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Get Your Motor Running

I gave my sit muscles quite the workout this weekend! We spent two solid days (OK, well my version of solid) on the bike riding the mountains and coast. I logged my first 100+ mile journey and could not wait to jump off the back of that puppy! We took an early ride to the Angeles National Forest on Saturday. It’s a giant national park that crosses through the San Gabriel mountains. It’s got lots of curvy roads for Brian and beautiful mountain scenery for me, the passenger!


We stopped several miles into the ride to get a little mini hike in and check out the outdoors. We got a great pic of the roads we had just traversed – very windy as you can see! I was a little nervous about the rattle snack presence (there were signs warning you to respect their habitats) but I didn't see one! Thank goodness!

That zig zag on the left is the road! 

After a good chunk of time we tried finding another hike spot but didn't have the correct paperwork for parking – and there was a serious lack of spots! We managed to find a little area to have a picnic lunch that we brought before hitting the road. On our way out we had to throw on the breaks when we saw this familiar character hanging out on the side of a mountain!



We tried to get him on the bike for a pic but found out he was about to propose to his girlfriend. He told us to stick around and watch! It was quite exciting. His girlfriend showed up and the guy had hired a violinist who played the Imperial March as she was escorted to Vader. You could tell she was in shock and he did his quick proposal and then promptly excused himself to take a picture with his fans! It was funny but kind of awkward! Glad we got this awesome shot though!


I've never seen a proposal in person (aside from my own) and it was really funny to hear the girls reaction because she is clearly in shock. I think this girl just repeated over and over “thank you.”


We had another beautiful day on Sunday. In fact, I would say it’s been one of the most gorgeous days I've had on the motorcycle yet. it was cool, breezy and sunny…so glad we rode the coast! We met up with the family for lunch at Neptune’s Net – a really popular biker/seafood spot. It was so packed but we got seats and had an awesome meal! I love shrimp!

Unfortunately, I did receive BAD news that I hadn't heard about yet. Apparently our cable company DROPPED CBS during negotiations and we were no longer getting this channel. UGH! How to watch Big Brother! This could be going on for a while…………I am not happy!!!

I will be crashing my sister's house regularly until this gets resolved! What a sour note on a sweet riding weekend!


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Surf's Up Dude!

OK, so I know we are far from surfer dudes, but this weekend we decided to have a taste of the hang loose life! You see, a few weekends ago Brian had to rise with the sun and get over to the Harley dealership early to get in line for a service “appointment” (first-come-first-serve). He noticed how peaceful the streets of LA were on an early ride and how the only other people on the road were surfers. 

His idea: peaceful early Saturday ride.
My idea: go to the beach and watch the surfers.

So, as ideas combined, at 5:30AM, in a dark, cozy bedroom, an alarm went off…we both wanted to put the covers over our head but someone was persistent and got me up, teeth brushed and on a motorcycle before the sun! And I am so glad that we did! We took a great ride towards the coast – NO traffic, no cars…but still managed to hit EVERY RED LIGHT! Once we got there, we camped out on some rocks and watched the sun come up and the ocean waves start to get bigger.



We saw so many surfers, tried to spot a few dolphins (zero) and saw some crazy birds diving for breakfast! We had a little snack to curb the morning nausea from lack of sleep and took off again further north. We ended up near Zuma beach, parked the bike and took a walk on the beach. There were a lot more surfers out there to watch and also an interesting attraction to come back and see! We found this sign for Grunion Mating in the tide pools. So much to look forward to!

Here's the info on the grunion - can't wait to see these puppies in action! 
A few of our lovely early morning views!

We ended up riding back towards Santa Monica for coffee and breakfast at a cafĂ© and then a quick trip to the Farmer’s Market. We got some goodies that I can’t wait to eat – especially the most delicious mozzarella, a juicy nectarine and fresh asparagus! We were at home by 10am and ready for a long afternoon nap!!!

The only bad thing about our early rise was that our entire day was screwed up. We went grocery shopping at 9:00 at night and had dinner around 10pm! Luckily, Corey came by for some beers and a sleepover, rounding out our great day!
Wow - excuse the early morning, make-up free, helmet haired looks! Our eyes don't look fully open!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Girls Night LA!

So, last Thursday, I had my first girls night in LA! A few of the PBC girls invited me out to dinner and drinks in honor of Dine LA. They picked a happening spot called The Bazaar in a fancy Beverly Hills hotel. This place was fancy and definitely different than anything back in the Chicago burbs!
We played our drinks safe with a pitcher of Sangria – but we saw other drinks around the room that start out with a base of flavored cotton candy and a bar cart that comes to your table to make the drink right in front of you! If I ever go back I will definitely need to try that! Unfortunately, cocktails are priced around $17 each! Yikes!

We stuck to the special Dine LA menu and shared several small plates. Here are a few of the highlights – scallops, amazing dessert and a sirloin.



My favorite of all was this little appetizer of a Philly Cheese Steak made with something amazing called Air Bread – hollow baguette with melted, gooey cheese. It was delicious!


Looking forward to more good times with this fun little group!



CHEERS!

Chicago: Recap

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two weeks already, but I got a trip back to Chicago for work and squeezed in as much possible time as I could visiting with my besties! I got as much face time as possible with people considering I had a full work schedule all week!
Highlights included seeing the McGrath remodeled bathroom in person, meeting Reese Sivers and having Parker ask me “Where’s Brian?”, drinks with Kitty (and her crazy sister), Brandy time (and dinner with sleepy TK), bottles of wine with Jackie until wee hours of the morning, Meson dinner with Bets (where we stayed until they kicked us out) and witnessing my godson’s first crawl, pet store and swim in the pool!








I had such a great time seeing everyone and look forward to my trip back to Chicago WITH Brian in October!

Friday, July 12, 2013

What's Cooking!

Well, it turns out almost all of my friends are now working mothers! How the heck did that happen? I guess I’m the only with time to still plan out a weekly menu and grocery shop…and in the sense of sharing, I had added a few of them to an e-mail distribution list that outlined weekly recipes, shopping lists and menus. Most of them seem too busy still to actually make all the meals, but they enjoy seeing my bragging rights when the meals turn out great!

So – I thought I would share my successes on the blog because I have been cooking up a storm! Here was this week’s menu along with the recipe links:
Sunday: Mexican Night with the Family – the highlight was the grilled corn with jalapeno butter. This is now a staple item because we all LOVE it!



Monday: White Pizza – this was OK – I definitely could have seasoned the pizza more to add some flavors! My leftovers were good – I had added crushed red pepper and oregano and basil.



Tuesday: Spicy Chicken Thighs + Southwest Salad. This scored high for me – Brian only gave it 8.5 out of 10 – mostly “because my meat to salad ratio wasn’t correct.” So apparently my food gets knocked for his laziness!




Wednesday: Chicken & Summer Vegetable Tostadas. This was SUPER messy! I didn’t even get a picture of this one because I was so busy trying to get it in my mouth without spilling the soggy everywhere!

Thursday: Roasted Veggie Pizza. I mixed this one up quite a bit! I didn’t have dough so I used frozen Naan from Trader Joe’s and then instead of heating up the entire kitchen, I did everything on the grill. It smelled so good I think I created steam from my drool on the hot grill! I am ready to chow down on this one again!


Although I love making all of these goodies – I’m off to Chicago all next week where I will have a much deserved cooking break! My only concern is Brian starving or becoming malnourished while I’m gone!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

Another summer holiday in LA means more fun in the sun with us Siedors!

We had a fantastic 4-day weekend where Bri and Lo were reunited after our first post-move separation. Brian spent a week away in Texas while I was away in San Diego at a lovely resort with mom and sis. 

We drove to Kristin’s for her annual July 4th beach party in Hermosa. In all fairness, Kristin did try to warn us that the parties got wild but nothing really prepared us for what I would like to deem West Coast Mardi Gras! We aimed to get there by 10am – yes, I know that’s early, but I also like a good day drink! Apparently, Hermosa starts early because we drove around to try and find parking for 1-1/2 hours!!!! HOLY HELL! We finally ended up in a parking lot near her house that charged $20 for the spot – at least we finally got to the party! Krsitin and her girlfriends were in the kitchen cooking up a feast – bacon for potato salad, homemade blueberry pie, mimosas...sadly, I never saw said food. I have no idea when these people eat but if I’m starting with an early drink in the sun...I need food!!! A bottle-and-a-half of champagne later (on an empty stomach) and Brian was taking us home!

Well, we had a plan to grab Chipotle on our way home and stopped at TWO stores that were both closed. I made Brian drive to the mall near our house to get it after that and then we got into a GIANT fight about how dumb it was to go to the mall and pay for parking all in the name of Chipotle. We determined that we were both starving since about half a burrito bowl into the arguing we both started feeling "normal" and decided this was a really dumb fight! 

We spent the rest of the weekend relaxing, grilling, and swimming in the pool!

On Sunday we spent the whole day with the family! It was one of the first days we could do that since Corey was off work! Everyone (except dad) drove to a state park in Malibu where we had a subway picnic lunch followed by a long, hot, un-shaded hike into the park where we ended up at a creek.

Here is all that beautiful scenery and lack of shade...doesn't it look like we're in Africa?!?

My mountain man!



You could swim and jump off rocks! You could also be surrounded by families and teenagers so there was barely a spot you could cool off. You could also be married to a guy who compared this spot to a cesspool and insist you shower before sitting in his convertible! Some of us got in the water and cooled off before hiking back!


It was Em's idea to come here and she stayed the most dry!

This was our fav pic because of Corey's face!

Once done there the kids all went to the store and planned a feast! We all cooked it up later that night and it was a true fiesta - corn, grilled veggies, carne asada!



My fav part is that a picture I took for Instagram that night was just featured on Cooking Light’s blog! See it here!

La Costa Lotta Money

La Costa Resort – home to multiple luxurious swimming pools, a world class spa, golf courses and the Lady Malleys for a long weekend! Mom spent a week at this resort in San Diego for a business trip and decided to extend the stay and invite her daughters down for a weekend! It was amazing!!!  

Kristin and I drove there on Thursday to crash in her free hotel suite! Mom had to run out for a work dinner and while we suited up (AKA bathing suits) room service dropped by with a platter of chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of wine – welcoming Kathy’s daughters to the resort! Nice touch! We pooled it up and the following day spent our time at their spa…and that’s where the cost-alotta-money part comes in! I guess for an entire days’ worth of relaxing and a glorious treatment it wasn’t THAT bad! I felt amazing afterwards!  

We took a walking tour of the resort when we arrived. Look at how green and blue everything was!


We returned to LA late Saturday and I cooked up some dinner for the ladies. The next morning we had brunch and a trip to Home Depot where mom bought us a house-warming gift: lots of plants for our patio! She and Kristin helped me organize, layout and plant everything! So far I am loving it! I was even able to use basil for a recipe this week of homemade pesto; and the cilantro in fresh salads!

Here is the edible portion of the garden: tomato, basil, rosemary, cilantro, oregano, thyme
 
The vine plant I hope will grow to the point where we can have it winding and growing around our trellis. My tomato plant has already grown so much in the short time! The plants make a huge difference for our patio to feel more like a yard and homey – thanks M-O-M!




 If you're wondering where Bri was during all this lady-time, he was on a man-trip in TX with Anthony where they ended up on a hog hunt. I think I was the big winner - I would take a spa trip over TX heat any day!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ode to Fathers Day Weekend

Before we get into our awesome weekend...let's talk about our awesome Thursday night! Bri and I went for a motorcycle ride to a park nearby. We don't get much greenery in this urban jungle so we have been going to parks to sit outside and walk and take in some hints of nature. This night we actually packed a little picnic dinner that we ate on the benches.



The area was SUPER ritzy and we were trying to determine the housing costs around the park. While we were walking I whipped out my Zillow app and found something AWESOME! One was that there no way in our lifetime we could ever live in the area (4-5 MILLION per house) and the other was that we were ONE block away from the PLAYBOY MANSION!!! We hopped back on the bike and did a drive by. I didn't see Hef (this time) but at least I know where to go in the future!

Now, on to the weekend. We went for a motorcycle ride to Pasadena on Saturday to go to a Chalkdrawing Festival. I was super excited because I thought it would be those 3-D chalk drawings where it looks like you can walk down a set of stairs or fall into a pit. I have never seen those in real life. I was a bit dissapointed because there weren't any of those, but the drawings were still really cool to see and fun to watch the artists in progress. The day got a bit spoiled when Brian thought that the bike was going to get stollen by a homeless person for a while, but isn't that every day really?


Brian laughed at me when I thought that this was Heman. Oops! I think I dated myself.

I wish I could see this Lion King drawing when it was done!
The other strange thing that happened on this trip was that a super market was having a going out of business sale. It gave us a preview into the future apocalypse scenario where the grocery store gets raided. We didn't know this was happening until we walked in and saw bare shelves and people loading up their carts!

On Sunday we spent all day with the family. It was the first time in MANY years I was with my dad on Father's Day. I had such a good time! We went to Portillo's for lunch. The only Portillo's in this state...then we went back to the parents house for games and grilling. It was such a fun night! I finally got my hands on some old pics - I don't see my own resemblance but I see my brother and sister for sure!



And let's not forget about the other dad in my life........


Ninja's dad - Brian! LOL!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Doing great!

Although I know just writing these words will be like a dagger through Betsy's heart...but we're doing great! I'm sure we don't have any friends near as good as we do back in Chicago...because we have NONE still, but all things considered we're OK!

It's really awesome (my words, not Brian's) being close to family. We stopped by on Saturday for a little visit and got to go see Emily particpate in Relay for Life. Shout out! She was on mile 10 of walking at 8pm when we saw her...she still had over 12 hours to go! She finished with some crazy tan/burn lines!

Speaking of burn lines...Brian and I went to the beach on Sunday. I think we were feeling like official locals (AKA no need reapply sunscreen) and now we're little lobsters. It was totally worth it - it was just a great day! We started with brunch on the beach - $15 bottomless mimosas. I thought that the restaurants would cheap out on you and give you mostly OJ, but they actually leave bottles of champagne at your table...awesome!!! It's really, really hard to gauge when an approriate time to leave is! I felt like I could stay all freaking day - and then I stood up! We went down to the beach and played in the ocean, Brian and I tossed the frisbee around, and we just laid out listening to the ocean and feeling the breeze. Have you booked your tickets to visit us yet?!?

And then to add the cherry on the sundae, Brian had an LA-style job today! That's right folks! He spent 6 hours at CBS studios pretending to be a gameshow contestant!!! He got to perform all sorts of outrageous stunts - he was on a lubed up slip-n-slide, wore a sumo outfit an did some other crazy stuff...and he got paid for it! He's officially in the biz!

We finished off the night with a bottle of wine (and by us, I mean me), some beers (Brian) and some awesome, AWESOME tacos...here's the recipe ladies: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/beer-braised-chicken-tacos-50400000127537/

Life is pretty good, we're doing great!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Congrats Corey!

Well, it was a long weekend...a great weekend, so great I nearly finished an entire bottle of tums Sunday night. I guess I don't have a stomach made for beer and college food anymore - who'd of thunk!

I am so proud of Corey - not only was he recognized by one of the best business schools in the country at commencement, but he had a fabulous 4-year run. I can tell by meeting his fraternity brothers and friends that he had a great time and will cherish the memories forever! He had all of us wishing we were Wildcat alum. I spent a large chunk of post-graduation time chanting U-of-A! U-of-A! Maybe I will get one of those honorary degrees some day!


The family got together before graduation to write his ad in the book. We decided to do a hashtag but the school editor missed our humor and took us for lame grownups...so they took it upon themselves to change #collegegrad to #1 college grad!


Here he is post-ceremony (1 of 2). Doesn't he looks handsome!

 
 
We all scrambled to take pictures together - here are the best of the group!
 


After the Eller Business School ceremony, we went back to Corey's apartment for a BBQ with his roommates and their families. What college BBQ isn't complete without some beer pong. For some reason, the teams divided between college vs. non-college...guess who won?



After we were all good and buzzed, it was time for graduation ceremony #2...this one was with the entire graduating 2013 class. We were not the most excited, I mean we were leaving beer pong to go sit in the bleachers...but this turned out to be full on amazing!!!


They decorated the foodtball stadium with Class of 2013 on the field and broadcoast everything on the jumbo screen and additional screens on all sides. They even put Corey's name in lights. After several speaches, we finally got to the good part! The school put on a video that played clips and music from the past 4 years, and they handed out wristbands to all of the students so that at one key part during the video, all of their wristbands lit up and started flashing their school colors! The show ended with fireworks. You could hear the student section chearing like crazy - it was so awesome and you could feel the energy...like I said, I wish I was a Wildcat - U OF A! U OF A!



I wish Corey nothing but the best in the next phase of life. I'm excited for him to come home to LA so all of my siblings will be together in 1 state again! More than anything, I'm VERY glad that Brian and I got to spend the weekend in Tucson with everyone and be there for Corey's special day. Bear down...#wildcatforlife.