Wednesday, October 31, 2012

LA Part One: Pasadena

It's not a trip to L.A. without some time spent in a car (cue the obligatory, "I'm stuck in traffic and have a camera" shot).
Every year for our birthdays, in lieu of presents, my mom and I treat each other to a trip down LA-way. I've blogged about it before (see: Time to Roadtrip) We eat. We museum. We Disneyland. We are a people of tradition. This year was a little different though because our duo became a trio. My sister Hayley was able to make it! Yay! We started our trip with lunch in San Marino and a visit to the Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens
 Yes, I am wearing a polka dot body suit from American Apparel. Because sometimes you buy a polka dot body suit from American Apparel and you think to yourself "I am never going to wear this thing" and then you think "I WILL WEAR THIS THING! I will wear this body suit till the polka dots come off." And I did...
 Body suits are kind of awkward...and awesome!  On to the Huntington and their Japanese gardens-
 It was so peaceful and calm that Hayley said she felt like she could take a nap on the grass. I dared her to prove it and she did. Now I owe her $1...
The Shakespeare Garden-
But back to the Japanese garden-
 The polka dot body suit and I should not be allowed near this incredible example of makes us feel big & powerful...too powerful
 Onwards to the Chinese garden, polka dot body suit!
The Chinese garden was constructed just a few years ago and it is fantastic place to visit. 
 Clearly, this statue was not happy with her body suit- they are not for everyone.
That evening we visited the Norton-Simon Museum which houses some of the finest art I have ever seen! If you are in the Pasadena area, it is seriously a MUST SEE!
 Hayley was very impressed by the art. Can you tell?

Looking for more on how to be crazy cultured? Check out my previous blog post: Lean into Art
 Show me the Monet!
And how about some carbs with that culture. I have two favorite restaurants in Pasadena. The first is Gale's. They serve Northern Italian food & the food is gooooood. I'm talking off the charts. But, what I really love about this place is that it has a neighborhood feel. You walk into Gale's & it feels like Cheers, but with ciabatta bread. Get the house salad (best salad I've ever had). Get the Pasta Al Forno- trust me. Go for it. Creamy meat sauce, ugggghhhhhh.
Here it is. I realize this picture makes it look like Freddy Kreuger's face, but believe me when I say, "He should be so lucky."
So, I mentioned that I have two favorite restaurants in Pasadena- I give you Europane. I wish I lived in a world with teleportation, just so I could have a macaroon from here whenever I am feeling peckish.
 We tried three types of macaroon: coconut, hazelnut, salted caramel. They were all delicious, but we agreed the win goes to the coconut!
When two macaroons are spooning, it's a spoocaroon.

 We had dessert first, but Europane is pretty well-known for their egg salad sandwich which my mother  got on olive bread...she says she's dreamed of it ever since...
While we are in Pasadena, we always go to the Pasadena Heritage Craftsmen Weekend. Here's Hayley while we were waiting to start one of our tours.
 Hayley said that she thought she should be a model, but a comedy model, because and I quote, "I'm especially beautiful when I make funny faces. So, really I'm more of a comodel, comedy model."
 This cracked my mother up!
 Which cracked Hayley up-
Then everyone switched glasses. Then we laughed so hard we almost got kicked off the tour. Hello, comodels!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Trip to Annapolis: Donuts, Smithsonian, Crab Dip...oh my!

I went to Annapolis this summer for my cousin's wedding, which was absolutely beautiful, seriously be-a-u-tiful. While there, I got to visit the Smithsonian, eat my weight in seafood, and avoid knocking over the wedding cake (one of my greatest fears). But most importantly, I discovered "Carlson's Donut's & Thai Kitchen." This was a yelp find and oh my goodness, what a find it is. This restaurant serves both Thai food & donuts. It's like finding the hidden dream I never knew I had. This place is insane and my dear, sweet, kind father went with me at 7 am (4 am Pacific time) to go pick up a dozen of the world's best donuts.
In case you can't tell, I don't think I'm even conscious in this photo. That's how early it is. But, I am smiling because when I wake there will be donuts! Apparently, they use sour cream in them and don't ask me how I know, but every single type of donut they serve is sensational.

Being from the West Coast, the land of wide open spaces, it's always shocking to go back East and drive through like 5 states in like an hour :) So, we were actually able to make a quick stop by Washington, D.C., on our second day there. First off was the Smithsonian: Air and Space Museum
Can you believe this early airline brochure?! Oh, yeah, it's always super easy to sleep on air plane & personally I find it very easy to carry on my conversations with "ordinary Boston modulations." Next, we went to the National Museum of American History
The gentleman with the glasses standing next to one of the earliest Kermits actually goes by the name of "Hipster." I can see it. And now for the gorgeous wedding...
You will notice that I am standing a good distance from the cake... this is because one of my biggest fears in the world is that I will topple a wedding cake, that I will be the crazy spinster relative who takes out the pastry love tower. If you're familiar with this blog at all, you are probably saying, "Say huh?! This gal loves cake." And I do. I seriously do, but it's this same love that is layered with potential doom. I am completely terrified that I will get too close to the cake, forget myself, and tip it over. Because I want to hug the cake. Because any space between me and a cake is too much space. 
And now time for the party to begin! Hayley (sis) and I only have two dance moves- the robot (hers) & the Gandalf (mine)...
My adorable rents.
We had an amazing time. Here we are enjoying the day.
And then I got too close to the cake...just kidding...

We couldn't leave Annapolis without enjoying some seafood & there really is just one place you've got to try- Cantler's Riverside Inn. Two words: crab dip! Let me say it again, crab dip. Crab dip with warm baguettes. Crab dip. 
Crab time! Yay Annapolis!