A Happy List

It’s June tomorrow (!!!), and last night I found myself reflecting on how 2015 has been so far. This year has been mostly clear skies and smooth sailing for me, and I’m making a conscious effort of to constantly practice gratitude for how great my life is. Below is a short compilation of things that make me happy and give me heart boners:

  1. Devouring a perfectly ripe avocado. Translation: finding the sweet spot between “Don’t eat yet!” and “Too late!”
  2. Landing a parking meter that still has considerable amount of time left before it expires.
  3. Listening to “Stay a Little Longer” by Brothers Osborne on mad repeat.
  4. Genuine smiles and big hugs.
  5. Discovering new and delicious brunch eateries near my neighborhood.
  6. Handwritten notes and cards, for any or even no occasion at all.
  7. When my FitBit vibrates and congratulates me for logging in 10,000 steps for the day.
  8. Finding cash still intact in my jeans pockets after it’s been laundered.
  9. Successfully parallel parking on the first attempt.
  10. Receiving as unlimited wet kisses from my dogs no matter how long I’ve been separated from them.
  11. Unexpected compliments. Compliments beyond looks.
  12. Guys who consistently open doors (especially car doors) for me and not just on the first date.
  13. Clicking the “Confirm Order” button on Expedia when booking a flight.
  14. Kind and sweet text messages that add value to my day and expect no reply in return.
  15. Shopping for succulents and fresh flowers.
  16. Being assigned the first row of a roller coaster ride.

What are some of your heart boners?

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Life List #40: Experience Coachella

I crossed off another life list item this past weekend. I attended (and survived) the second weekend of Coachellaaaaaa! It was definitely an experience of a lifetime!

Experiencing Coachella is something that I’ve always wanted to do ever since I first learned about it. The idea of having a music and arts festival in the middle of a California desert intrigued me, and I knew it was something I wanted to see in person and be a part of. When I first added it as a Life List item, I envisioned myself attending Coachella waaaaay down the road. Definitely not anytime soon. Nevertheless, the opportunity to purchase pre-sale tickets last May came along, and there was no way I could pass it up!

Continue reading “Life List #40: Experience Coachella”

Catalina Dreamin’

After 14 years of living in Southern California, I can finally say I’ve visited Catalina Island! There are a number of reasons why it took so long for me to explore this charming island merely a one hour ferry-ride away from mainland California, but at this point it doesn’t matter anymore.

We spent two days and one night on the island, which was more than enough for our purposes. We arrived early Saturday morning at the Long Beach port and rode the Catalina Express.

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I must say, even with a strong stomach like mine, I found the ferry ride quite uncomfortable. The open water was so rough and wavy that I constantly felt my stomach dropping! Wave after wave after wave slammed against our vessel, making it difficult to even stand up.

Nevertheless, the ride was worth it because it felt like arriving to paradise once we docked in Avalon. We definitely got lucky escaping the gloomy and foggy weather back in the mainland!

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Upon arrival, we immediately checked in at our hotel, The Catalina Island Inn, which is conveniently located in the heart of their main town center. I highly recommend staying here! Our room was clean and updated, and the staff were extremely helpful. Plus, the location is unbeatable, only a 5-minute walk from the ferry port.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Their main town square was incredibly charming. It had Santa Barbara’s beach town vibe! It completely felt like we were way farther from Los Angeles than we actually were.

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We spent the next few hours relaxing [and dodging seagulls] at the beautiful Descanso Beach Club. The weather was a bit on the chilly side and the sun came out of the clouds sporadically, so getting in the water was out of the question.

“Daughters [& Son] of Anarchy”

Next item on the itinerary was biking! There were a few rental areas, and we scored ours for only $8 per hour! We stayed primarily in the main town since the rest of the island had steep inclines! Nevertheless, it was a fun and relaxing way to explore more of Catalina Island. Through biking, we discovered that they pretty much only have one of everything: one school (from K-12), one church, one hospital, one fire station, one gasoline station ($6.20 per gallon gas yo!) and such. We were definitely NOT in Los Angeles anymore.

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Sunday was spent relaxing as well as more biking! My friends and I dined at Bluewater Grill, a restaurant overlooking the ocean. It was only fitting we devour shrimp tacos and fish and chips!

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After lunch, we toured the island like locals — with golf carts! We managed to rent a 6-seater for a few hours, allowing us go up the hills and see the island from up high.

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We ridin' dirrrrrty..
We ridin’ dirrrrrty..

We cruised all over the island, waving and saying “Hi!” and “Hello” to every one we encounter: pedestrians, other tourists, locals playing golf… and surprisingly, everyone waved back! They were so friendly. We even waved at the captain of the submarine (pictured above). He not only waved back at us, but even honked the submarine!

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We eventually reached the top of the hill overlooking Catalina. The view was beautiful!

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetAfter riding the golf carts, we decided to rent bikes again since we had a blast biking around the town the day before.

I definitely recommend Catalina Island for a weekend getaway for those who want to disconnect and unwind from the hustle and bustle of city life in the mainland. I am most definitely coming back!

Click play below to watch our video diary. Make sure to watch in HD!

Love,
Anicka Nadine

Salt’s Cure

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Last Saturday, my two best friends and I got together over brunch with an old friend of ours from middle school. As brunch enthusiasts, we all agreed to meet up at Salt’s Cure in West Hollywood. Granted it was the weekend, the wait for a table lasted for about 45 minutes. All of us have heard great things about Salt’s Cure, so we stuck around.

Also, we ran into Andre 3000 from Outkast! We noticed him walk in with an older lady. All of us recognized him immediately, but none of us were brave enough to actually approach him.

Unlike most brunch places in Los Angeles, Salt’s Cure is very unpretentious. Their exterior design is so simple I almost missed it driving by. In the same token, their interior is modest and charming.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetThe place itself is fairly small, only seating about 30 people or so. The kitchen/griddle itself occupied about half of the space.

Each one of us ordered the All-Star 2x2x2, which wasn’t on the menu. The dish consists of 2 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, 2 sausage patties, 3 pancakes and 1 biscuit.

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The meal itself look incredibly simple, but my god, that plate is what dreams our made of. It was probably the BEST brunch meal I’ve ever had in Los Angeles. Hands down. Everything was perfectly cooked and balanced and proportioned. There was sweet and there was savory.

The bacon slices were thick just the way I like them as well as the sausage patties. Their eggs could star in their own porn movie. Their biscuits were fresh and fluffy. Their pancakes were in the league of their own. I seriously don’t think I can eat regular pancakes again after having tried theirs. They were accompanied by maple butter, which melted upon encounter with the soft warm pancakes, oozing into its crevices and making sweet love to ’em.

Heavenly! Needless to say, I cleaned my plate off.

Love,
Anicka Nadine

Big Bear, California

After a few days of heavy rain storm, Southern California’s peaks finally received a much-needed helping of fresh powder. It was absolutely breathtaking. Snow truly does beautify everything it touches.

My family and I headed up the mountains early Saturday morning and surprisingly had a smooth ride up. It’s been years since my last visit to Big Bear, and I had a wonderful time with my family bob sledding and having snow ball fights! Regardless of age, snow brings out the inner kid in every one!

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Thank you for reading!

Xx,
Anicka Nadine