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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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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!