Monthly Archive: April 2015

Cooking with Plated

Since I loved my experience with Blue Apron so much, I decided to give another food delivery service a try. Enter Plated!

Similar to Blue Apron, you get all the ingredients delivered to you to prepare the meals for yourself. I did like that Plated allowed you to pick out your meals ahead of time, so you knew what you were getting. Also, they packaged the ingredients according to the meal, so you weren’t rummaging around the box trying to figure out if you had the right ingredients. I thought it was funny that instead of packaging some ingredients themselves, they included brand name packages of mayo, soy sauce, and yogurt.

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My favorite was definitely the Sesame Soy Udon Bowl with Crispy Tilapia. I didn’t even know I liked Tilapia! Plus, I’m a sucker for anything with noodles. I had to restrain myself from eating this the first night, I was saving it for lunch the next day. Maybe it was just my big appetite, but I found this portion to be small. I ate it in one sitting with no leftovers.

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Then came the Chicken Souviaki with Spinach Rice. I definitely didn’t cut the cucumbers small enough for the Tzatziki. Though I did feel like this was an ambitious meal for me to make. It was really good the first day, however, it didn’t reheat well for leftovers :(

IMG_0308 (1)Lastly, the Roast Beef Steak Salad. I really liked the meat, garlic bread, and tomatoes. I just couldn’t do the arugula salad, it was too much. Roasting the tomatoes was cool though :)

In the end I don’t really have a preference as far as Plated or Blue Apron. I really enjoyed using both services and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again!

 

 

 

My favorite apps to use in Los Angeles

Navigating Los Angeles can be difficult, but luckily we’re in the age of smart phones to help us out! Here’s a list of apps I use daily and I think are vital to the lives of Angelenos:

1. Waze – I feel like my life changed the day I started using Waze — now I don’t leave my apartment without consulting it first! Basically it tells you the best way to get to your destination according to traffic, which is a lifesaver in Los Angeles. I had to get to Beverly Hills from The Valley one morning when it was pouring rain (which is basically death by traffic in LA). Waze took me through the canyon on this random route and got me to Beverly Hills in no time. Now I don’t have to waste time looking at google maps thinking which route would be the quickest!

2. Yelp – Los Angeles is definitely a foodie city and Yelp is the savior. I’m constantly using it to see which are the best restaurants in the area. Sometimes I’ll drive by a place, see a line, and check it out on Yelp to see what the big deal is. Also, when meeting friends in different neighborhoods, I love using the map to search for Lunch in West Hollywood or whatnot. I’m constantly looking at the parking situation at different establishments as well; is there street parking, or should I bring cash for valet? Bonus: Yelp isn’t just great for food, it was a lifesaver when I went to the Chinese embassy last year for a visa. Yelp reviewers listed out exactly what to bring, when to do, etc. It made the experience so much easier!

3. Spotify – Since the memory on my iPhone is so crowded, it’s nice to have all my music in one place that doesn’t take up space. I pay for the premium subscription and it’s so worth it! I can listen to my music anywhere and it’s even available in offline mode, which is great for when you don’t have reception (aka traveling or Runyon Canyon!).

4. Hinge – Face it, meeting people in LA is hard, but I’ve found that Hinge is the best for meeting people via online. It sources a queue for you each day that are 2nd and 3rd degree connections (friends of friends); it’s not just a catch all like Tinder. I also like that you can’t talk unless you both like each other, no random unwanted people will be reaching out to you. While I haven’t found Mr. Right yet, I’ve met up with some pretty cool people through this app!

5. Snapchat – There’s always so much going on in LA, so it’s hard to keep up. I’ve noticed more and more that I love seeing snapshots of other people’s days through Snapchat. There’s cute filters you can use for the many different neighborhoods of LA. Also, there’s an LA story that you can share to, or see what other people in the city have going on.

8. GasBuddy – As I said before, we drive a lot here and gas is expensive. I always consult Gas Buddy before I stop for gas, there might be a station nearby that’s 50 cents cheaper!

6. Uber/Lyft – Going along with the driving theme, there is almost no reliable public transportation in Los Angeles. I have some friends that religiously use Uber/Lyft to get anywhere on a night out. DUI’s are no joke and cops are everywhere on the weekend. Better to be safe than sorry! Also, you can now use Uber & Lyft to take you to/from the airport!

7. Audible – Again, I didn’t realize how much time I spend in my car until I started using Audible. I can listen to an entire 6 hour book in a week! I’m currently on a celebrity book kick where the author is the one reading.

8. Venmo – My friends and I often at a loss when splitting the bill, or sometimes you go somewhere that’s cash only with no cash. Venmo makes it easy to pay someone back quickly and directly. It’s common to hear “Can I Venmo you?”

What do you think? Any other apps that should be included?

Weekly Pins & Tweets

IMG_5136A little post-workout treat!

1. So sad to hear that Gilbert Blythe died this week. Loved this post on Buzzfeed!

2. Some cute new gadgets for the bathroom

3. A super handy calendar of outdoor movies in LA

4. I’m loving the convenience of mug cakes and can’t wait to try this one!

5. Dreaming of going to Africa, might have to stay in this California getaway

Watching: Ex Machina – Saw this one over the weekend and loved it! One of those trippy thrillers.

Reading: Room – Still reading this one and getting really into it!

Listening: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris – I’ve always wanted to read one of his books, currently loving his funny stories!

Apartment Hunting in Los Angeles

Right now I’m on the hunt for a new apartment and it’s been stressful! I imagine it’s not as hard as finding an apartment in New York or San Francisco, but LA is it’s own beast. Luckily, I still have over a month before I’m moving out of my place, yet, the frustrating part is that most apartments in LA want you to sign your lease and move in within a few days. Here are the resources I’m using to keep me up to date as I dive into my apartment hunting.

1. Craigslist Los Angeles – Obviously the most popular resource. Though, I find that sooo many people are looking there that the best places get snatched up quickly. Also, be wary of scams!

2. Radpad – This is by far my favorite app that I’ve been using. It’s location based and you can filter by price, area, bedrooms, etc. I see more and more places with signs saying “For rent on RadPad!”

3. Other Apps – I feel that most of these have the same listings, but it doesn’t hurt to look! Padmapper, Westside Rentals, Lovely, Zillow

4. Driving Around – Sometimes it’s good just to take some time after work or on the weekends to drive around looking for “For Rent” signs. It’s a good way to get a feel for the neighborhoods you are looking for. I used this method to get my current apartment. I called as I was driving by one day, luckily there was an opening!

5. Management Companies – While driving around, I’ve noticed a lot of places with signs pointing to a management company. Most of their websites have open listings which are good to browse. Also, by going through a professional management company, you’re more likely to be dealing with someone who knows what they are doing! Some examples: PAC Apartments, C&S Enterprises, BAM Living.

6. Google – It may sounds simple, but googling “Studio City Apartments” has brought up alot of listings for me. I also found this great LA Apartments link that is very helpful.

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that you can’t start looking until you are truly ready, as most apartments move quick in LA. Crossing my fingers to get something good in the upcoming months!

Salmon Foil Packet & Cheese Toasts

I randomly pinned this Salmon Foil Packet awhile back and thought nothing of it. Meanwhile, I also pinned these cheese toasts and have been salivating at the photo. Then, I noticed people re-pinning the foil packet, so I thought, why not try it? This past week I was able to get the few ingredients needed and try them both out!

Salmon Collage

The salmon was super easy. Put a few pieces of asparagus down, put the filet on top, slather on the topping, cover and put in the oven for 30 mins. The first time I did this it was PERFECT! Such a good lunch for work. The second time, however, I think the filet was too big and it turned out fishy. I recommend a smaller filet for this.

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Lastly, the cheese toasts! I mean, how good do those look? It’s pretty self-explanatory. I think it’s hard to mess this one up. I realized I didn’t have mayonnaise when I made them and used butter instead. Still turned out good. I cut the bread wrong. Still turned out good. There you go :)

 

Weekly Pins & Tweets

 IMG_5118A little Roscoe’s Chicken N Waffles to start the weekend!

1. In case you were wondering — Which Reese’s peanut butter candy has the most peanut butter

2. An easy pasta dish to try this week

3. Some great interview tips from one of my favorite bloggers!

4.  Some travel inspiration for my new apartment

5. These pink Louboutins are to DIE for

Watching: Trainspotting – Every list of “movies you should watch on Netflix” included this one. So naturally I had to watch!

Reading: Room – This one’s been sitting on my shelf for awhile. I wanted to finish it before the movie comes out!

Listening: “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” by Rob Lowe – Such a great audio book! Rob reads himself and does some fun accents. Great if you love some 80’s Hollywood history.

 

Cooking with Blue Apron

I’ve been wanting to try Blue Apron for ages. One of my co-workers sent me some free meals, so I decided to finally give it a shot!

It was pretty straightforward, the refrigerated box was delivered to me at work and stayed fresh until I got home. Each meal came with recipe cards with instructions and pictures of the ingredients needed.

IMG_5090At first, I wasn’t so into it. I had to chop up all these ingredients and it takes so much time (excuses). Plus, I hate chopping onions since I always cry! Though, once I got into it, I felt like Chef Lindsay, making dishes I never thought I could make. I was cooking meats, pickling onions, and using ingredients I never heard of. I honestly would use it again just for the experience of preparing dishes that were a little more complex than I’m used to.

IMG_5020I was griping at first how each meal is for two people. I’m usually just cooking for one, but it was nice to have some left overs for lunch at work. The only meal that didn’t stay over well was the cod with salad. It was an odd dish (and spicy!), but so good.

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I did get a little mixed up with the garlic in one of the dishes, but it still turned out good. Also, I didn’t peel the carrots, does it really matter?? I also chopped the carrots wrong in the Lamb Meatball stew. Oops!

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Overall it was a positive experience cooking with Blue Apron. It was nice to have a healthy meal to eat during the week and try new dishes. I think the lamb meatball stew was my favorite. I’d definitely do it again!

 

 

Lately

My schedule has been packed since I got back from my trip. This weekend I was finally able to veg out a little and catch up on life. Here are some highlights from my recent LA ventures:

IMG_5062Newsies at The Pantages with friends!

IMG_5053A Friday treat at California Donuts (I got fruity pebbles!)

IMG_5070A much needed beach day!

IMG_5073 (1)Happy to be back in the California sun!

Weekly Pins & Tweets

IMG_5096A little bit of heaven this weekend

1. I’m always so nostalgic — Pictures that will give you childhood flashbacks

2. Some great travel safety tips for women

3. A laugh for Game of Thrones Fans

4. Some yummy cookies to make!

5. Loved this movie! Revisiting the songs of A Goofy Movie

6. Why you should spend money on experiences, not things

Watching: The Longest Ride – I loved escaping for 2 hours this week and watching this movie. Always love a Nicholas Sparks flick!

Reading: Confessions of a Video Vixen – One of those random books that has been sitting on my shelf for forever. I very juicy read, kind of like The Wolf of Wallstreet with a female lead.

Listening: “I Lived” by One Republic – I can’t get this out of my head since my trip to Italy. My new anthem!

Bonus: Yes Please by Amy Poehler (Audible) – I’ve been trying audiobooks since I have a commute now and I love it! I’m on a celebrity biography kick because most of them read their own books. I loved Yes Please and now onto Rob Lowe’s book. Such interesting stories to hear!

 

Italian Espresso with Contiki!

I’m back! I took the Italian Espresso trip with Contiki and had an amazing time. This trip was relatively low-maintenance compared to my other trips. Brazil and China were so much work with the visa and preparation. I felt like I literally just showed up to the airport and was off!

I loved Italy, my favorite part was walking through the streets and getting lost in the city. This group was about 50 people and our tour guide Erica was the best! I think that really makes the trip. She was so organized and thoughtful. I ate so much pizza, pasta, wine, gelato, and espresso. The food was definitely a highlight! Often, I thought about the study abroad programs in college and how I should’ve done Italy like so many of my friends did. I know I would’ve loved it! Oh well.

Here are some of my highlights:

IMG_4534Seeing the Coliseum

IMG_4545Many Gelato trips!

**Side note, my luggage didn’t arrive so I was freezing in the rain the first day. I went to a vintage store in Rome and got some cute boots**

IMG_4566Pasta making class!

IMG_4619Visiting The Vatican

IMG_4638Karaoke night in Florence

IMG_4669Wandering around Florence

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IMG_4701Seeing friends I have made through my travels – From China to Italy

IMG_4750Places like this — which I only had seen in movies

IMG_4775Wine tasting in beautiful Tuscany

IMG_4686Meeting David himself! I always put him in my house on The Sims

IMG_4816The Leaning Tower of Pisa!

IMG_4821As someone who falls asleep everywhere, these espressos were a godsend!

IMG_4834Visiting Juliet’s House – Verona was so beautiful!

IMG_4938Sunset Gondola ride in Venice!

I’d rate this one up with China for my Contiki trips. There was so much included and ample time to explore. I do like a more intimate group though, I still don’t remember everyone’s names! Like I said before, I think the tour manager really makes the trip and Erica was an amazing guide. However, this California girl couldn’t take the cold weather, so I definitely want to only do summer trips from now on!

Also, I stopped in Amsterdam on the way back for two nights. Since I’ve been traveling a lot, I decided to take the plunge and do a mini solo trip. I booked a nice hotel for myself and explored the city. However, it was even colder in Amsterdam! I couldn’t wait to get back to the 80 degree weather in California. Amsterdam was a beautiful city and I hope to explore it more when it’s a little warmer :)

IMG_4996A quick taste of Amsterdam

Also, I took Iceland Air on the way back and had a layover in Reykjavik. I literally felt like I was in a different planet when I was there. They were advertising stopovers in Iceland on your way to/from Europe. I’m thinking about trying this in the future!

Our day song for Contiki was “I Lived” by One Republic. It’s such an inspiring song and I hope to continue living my life saying “I did it all” :)