Monthly Archive: June 2015

Making Your Commute Better with Audiobooks

With all the different types of entertainment today, it’s really hard to make time to read. I’m always trying to stay up to date on all the latest TV show, movies, and entertainment news; reading always seems to take the back-burner. When I started my new job earlier this year, I decided to make the most of my 30 minute commute by trying out audiobooks.

IMG_0346Can’t wait to start listening to this one!

In 4 months, I’ve already been through 8 books! I didn’t realize how much time I spent in the car! I’ve found that I like books read by the authors best, especially ones that are celebrity memoirs. It’s always a good start to my day to hear a funny story or two. Listening to these books also make any long commutes to see friends or family more bearable.

Here’s two options I’ve discovered when it comes to audiobooks:

1. Audible – Amazon’s audiobook service and app. The books can be $20-30 each! If you sign up for a plan and pay monthly, it’s $14.95 each month. This gets you a credit for one book. If you choose to buy any additional books, there is a discounted rate. You can find basically any book you want and read reviews about it. Though, if you go through books quickly, it gets pricey.

2. Overdrive (through LA Public Library) – I was talking to someone about Audible recently and they were like “Why don’t you just use the library?” Who would’ve thought?! I signed up online, got an electronic library card, and downloaded the Overdrive app. Basically, you can browse the library catalog online and check out the audiobooks. It’s all free and your check outs will sync to the app on your phone. Though it’s cost efficient, I’ve found that it’s hit or miss with which audiobooks they carry. Also, you might have to wait a bit for a book to become available.

I’ve been utilizing a marriage of the two systems, which is working great! I’ve knocked out so many reads on my Amazon Wish List. Here’s a few books I’ve listened to that I recommend:

  • Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe – If you’re a film buff like me and love hearing about the movie industry, this book is for you! Rob reads it himself and it was amazing to hear him tell about his beginnings as an actor, his darkest times, and finding love. I’m excited to listen to his 2nd book soon as well!
  • Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson – I found myself laughing out loud constantly listening to Jenny’s stories. In the reviews, I read a few times people saying not to listen to this while driving because you’ll be laughing too hard! So true!
  • Still Foolin’ ‘Em by Billy Crystal – Another great comedic listen. Billy talks about his days starting in stand-up, transitioning to films, family life, and growning old. Some of his stories are read to a live audience. I believe this audiobook was nominated for a Grammy, so you can only imagine how good it must be!
  • Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris – I’ve always wanted to read a David Sedaris book, so I thought this was finally my chance! He reads with such sarcasm and wit, that you genuinely feel engrossed in his stories. His minor frustrations with everyday occurrences were something I related to and laughed along with!
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler – This was my first celebrity audiobook and the one that got me hooked. I really think hearing the book read by Amy herself is the best way to experience the book. Although I read Tina Fey’s and Mindy Kaling’s books on paper, I’m sure those ones would’ve been twice as good if I listened to them like Amy’s.

Tip: Under no circumstances do I recommend listening to Carrie Fisher’s book, Wishful Drinking. I think it was the worst reading I’ve heard, she sounded like a crazy person throughout!

Weekly Pins & Tweets

IMG_5345Happy Father’s Day!

1. If you haven’t watch Jon Stewart’s monologue about the Charleston shooting, definitely have a watch. Very thought provoking!

2. Interesting perspective: No, I Do Not Need My Husband’s Permission to Travel

3. Some good reads from TED speakers and attendees

4. Cool list of normal people who date celebrities

5. If you need a laugh — watch Arnold pranking people as The Terminator

Watching: Still watching House of Cards and almost done with season 2. Debating whether or not to continue to season 3…

Reading: Yup, still reading this one. Haven’t had much time for reading as of lately!

Listening: Literally just finished listening to Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, in the end, I felt like Jenny was just a unique person trying to fit in modern society, and hilariously failing at it. Definitely a funny listen. Though I wouldn’t recommend if you don’t like hearing about dead animals!

Matilda at the Ahmanson!

For my birthday festivities this past weekend, I decided to treat myself to tickets for Matilda playing at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles!

IMG_5298I got my tickets through a Goldstar deal. While not the cheapest ever, it was nice to save a few bucks. You don’t get to choose your seats, but I find this option nice when I’m getting last minute tickets to go by myself. I honestly don’t care too much about where I sit. Actually, I ended up seeing that another friend was there halfway through the show and went to sit by her in an empty seat in the second row :)

I really enjoyed Matilda. It does skew a little young and I saw a lot of families and little kids. I think it would be a fun outing with my nieces to see it, I think I would’ve enjoyed seeing it when I was younger. I was disappointed they didn’t include too much of Matilda’s powers, but I felt the musical was very faithful to the book and movie. I left wanting to watch the movie again!

I normally see musicals over at the Pantages theater in Hollywood, so I was interested to try the Ahmanson in Downtown. I do think they need to build up that area a little more. I love going early to the Pantages to get parking and grab a drink before the show. There isn’t much within walking distance of the Ahmanson as far as food and parking was super backed up at the structure (there weren’t many options). I’m interested to see if they change up the area in the future. Looks like they have a bunch of cool shows for the new season!

 

Carson Daly’s Mac-and-Cheese Casserole

I’m not sure why this recipe jumped out at me. It’s very random that it came from Carson Daly, but whatever! I think I pulled it out of People magazine because it seemed super easy to make, yummy-looking, and a little bit healthy with the vegetables. Indeed, it was all of these things! You can reference the full recipe here.

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I loved how easy and modify-able this recipe is. If you want to add different vegetables or do a different type of pasta, totally do-able! I ended up using Annie’s Edibles shells and white cheddar. I love shells and they turned out good! I’m not even a big fan of peas and I thought they tasted really good with this recipe.

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So basically, you make the pasta according to the box directions and add broccoli when it’s cooking. Then, add peas when you mix the sauce and pasta. Lastly, you put it all in a pan or casserole dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese, and put into the oven for about 15 mins.

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I guess my only critique would be that I thought the amount of breadcrumbs and cheese was a little much. I felt like I was putting alot on. I recommend holding back a little bit. Otherwise, I found this dish to be really yummy! The recipe describes it as a side dish, but I ate it as a meal and was very satisfied. I’d definitely make this again, such an easy recipe!

 

Weekly Pins & Tweets

IMG_5314Some fun art at the Century City Mall! 

1. Love this article for people like me obsessed with books!

2. These BBQ Chicken Sandwiches look amazing!

3. Some great Career Tips

4. A good gluten-free recipe: one pan crispy chicken and brussels sprouts

5. Great tips: some habits 20-somethings should unlearn

Watching: Saw the very quirky Me and Earl and the Dying Girl this week – definitely a fun yet sad movie!

Reading: Still working on Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – it’s a little slow, but it’s been hard finding time to read!

Listening: Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson – I wasn’t sure about this one, but her crazy stories have grown on me. Very fun to listen to on audiobooks!

Cookie Butter Mug Cake

I love when recipes call for ingredients I have on-hand. When I saw this Buzzfeed post, I knew I had to try this easy cookie butter mug cake!

IMG_5158The finished product!

I can’t emphasize how easy this was! You just put all ingredients in the mug and microwave for 90 seconds. Great for a quick treat when you are craving something sweet! I definitely want to try the Nutella one next :)

Weekly Pins & Tweets

IMG_5300A sweet treat to celebrate my birthday this weekend! 

1. Love Aziz Ansari’s view on Modern Romance, can’t wait to read his book!

2. Always love some good tips from Buzzfeed

3. From a PR perspective, loved the reveal of Caitlyn Jenner!

4. Wanting to try some new sangria recipes for a family party this weekend!

5. Some fun recipes to celebrate national donut day!

Watching: Very into House of Cards, I haven’t watched anything else this week! I love when you get really into a show and can’t wait to see what happens next!

Reading: Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Still reading this one, hoping to finish this week!

Listening: “Against the Wind” by Bob Seger – One of my favorite lyrics “Wish I Knew Now What I Didn’t Know Then”

Reflecting on 27

I always love reading those posts “Lessons for 20 Somethings” and “Things I Wish I Knew in my 20s”. As I celebrate my 27th birthday today and officially head into the “late 20’s,” I decided to give a go at things I’ve learned along the way and a few things I wish I realized sooner:

IMG_5303This is 27!

1. Be Young and Have Fun – When I graduated college, I was so focused on getting a job and starting my career, I didn’t really take any time off to stop and enjoy the moment. I’m now playing catch-up and trying to spend more time having fun. Life should be a good balance of work and career.

2. Work with What You’ve Got – I’m never going to be a model or have stick straight hair. The sooner you learn to accept what you have and work with that, life gets easier. Plus, you never know who might be envious of something you see as a flaw. After years of straightening my hair, I decided to finally wear it naturally wavy, cutting my time in the bathroom and making myself less high-maintenance when traveling. Everything got so much easier when I stopped being self-concious about my looks.

3. Spend Money on Things That Matter – Apart from the essentials, anything that benefits your physical or mental health gets the green light with my wallet. Whether it’s a SoulCycle class, massage, travel, or trying that new restaurant you’ve been coveting, you shouldn’t feel bad for spending money on things that are good for the mind, body, and soul.

4. No Better Day Than Today – That class you’ve been wanting to take? Sign up today! That vacation you’ve been to take? Book it today! There is never going to be the ideal time for anything in life, if it’s something your really want in life, you’ll move around your schedule to accomodate. It’s always been in the back of my mind to do a triathlon, so recently when I heard my work had a team, I signed up the same day and haven’t looked back!

5. Don’t Waste Time Around People You Don’t Enjoy – There were a few times when I had just moved to LA and would hang around people I didn’t really enjoy, just to have some friends. I’ve also gone on dates just for the sake of getting out there and dating. I’ve learned that it’s better to be alone than spend time around people you just don’t care about. The quality of friends is better than quantity.

6. Sometimes You’ve Got to Do Things Alone – You can’t live your life waiting for someone to accompany you to everything. I get so much more done these days by not having to work around anyone’s schedule but my own. I’ve tried new restaurants, gone to plays, attended parties, and traveled to new places solo. I love putting myself outside of my comfort zone and not having to worry about anyone but myself. At the end of the day, all that matter is ME (my enjoyment).

7. You Can Only Be Yourself – I’m all about giving everything a fair shot, but, at the end of the day, you can only be yourself. Especially in the entertainment industry, it’s all about the hottest shows and movies. While it may not be the most popular opinion, I’m now more confident in saying that Game of Thrones isn’t for me, and yes I like Star Wars Episode I! Who want to be like everyone else anyways?

8. Don’t Feel Bad for Spending Downtime – With social media being so in-your-face, it feels like everyone is always doing something amazing. Sometimes you need to spend a weekend watching Netflix or visiting family. Don’t feel lame because you spend a night in and not out at the hottest new bar in town. Everyone does it one time or another.

9. You’re Always One Work-Out Away From a Better Mood – Exercise is my therapy. Whenever I’m feeling frustrated or anxious, I love getting outdoors for a hike or going to a spin class. I’m always instantly refreshed and ready to take on whatever comes my way. Also, I’ve been surprised by how many friends I’ve made through going to the gym or work-out classes. The nice staff at SoulCycle even sang me happy birthday today!

10. Everything Happens for Reason – Anytime I’ve been laid off from a job or felt stuck in a position, there’s always been a better opportunity that has presented itself. While it felt hopeless and frustrating at the time, I wish I had relaxed a little more and had good faith that everything would work itself out. Looking back, it always did!

2015 has already been such an amazing year, and we’re only halfway! For one of the first times in my life, I honestly feel very fulfilled. I always think that the best is yet to come, so I’m excited to see what 27 has in-store!

Try Something New: Olympic Spa

A while back one of my co-workers was telling me to visit a Korean Spa she goes to called Olympic Spa. She was telling me that they scrub your skin so amazingly that you feel the dead skin falling off. I was a little skeptical about it, but I ended up going and loved it! I plan to go back as a “treat yo-self” day for my birthday this week!

I don’t have any photos inside unfortunately, that would be rude!

If you haven’t heard of Los Angeles’s Koreatown, it is the largest population of Koreans in the nation, and the most densely populated area in Los Angeles. Olympic Spa is a traditional Korean spa experience. Everyone is nude, which allows the body to be the most clensed.

Upon arrival, they give you a robe, locker key, and flip flops. You have a separate locker for your clothes and shoes which I thought was neat! I had booked myself their special “The Goddess Treatment” and arrived about 45 mins early to use the facilities. The have you shower before you start the treatments. Everyone is nude, which I was most nervous about, but after a few minutes, you get used to it. I started out by trying their different pools: cold, warm, and hot. I even made some friends in the pools, laughing at how silly it was to be naked in pools with strangers :) Then, I tried out some of the different steam rooms and saunas. There’s a salt room, jade room, and oxygen stone room; although there might be more, that place is huge!

Then, a worker came to get me for my treatment, which lasted 1.5 hours. They bring you to an area with cots and short walls where they scrub you down and apply all the treatments. I don’t even remember all that went on, but it was great! You can view their treatments here. My favorite part though, was afterwards. I felt so relaxed. I just stayed in their sitting area catching up on reading. They also have heated mats if you want to take a nap. I would’ve stayed all day, but I was getting hungry. They have a restaurant on the premises, but I had some food at home.

Overall, this is defintely an experience I recommend! If not Olympic Spa, there are many other Korean spas in Koreatown to experience. I believe there are ones that are co-ed or family oriented as well. I can’t wait to try the Milk & Honey treatment for my birthday this week!

Chicken Kale Pasta

I found this recipe in People magazine ages ago and thought it would be a great dish to make for lunch during the week. While it turned out incredibly delicious, this was one of those dishes where everything just went wrong! Sometimes I think this blog should be called “The Comical Cook” or something of that nature. I feel like most of the time I complain about everything I do wrong with recipes. Haha. Well, noboday is perfect!

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I think this is the same recipe, originally from The Pioneer Woman. I think my downfall was the wine. I realized as soon as I started cooking that I didn’t have a corkscrew. So, I got distracted googling ways to open wine without a corkscrew. Then, I realized as soon as I started cooking that I was supposed to cut up the chicken first, so I had to cook it a little longer once I was done with everything else. I finally got the cork to go into the bottle, but it splashed wine everywhere! At that point, I just decided to take a swig of wine and c’est la vie.

IMG_5291Overall I found this to be a simple and tasty dish that will last me throughout the week. Not to mention healthy, because of kale. My only criticism is I found the meat messy to make due to the oil and butter sputtering all over my oven range. This was one of those dishes where I had to wash my face after because the fumes made it oily!

Side note: After I went to SoulCycle and picked up some Pressed Juicery on my way home, I found myself at the grocery store looking for kale for this recipe. I came to the realization that I’m becoming very stereotypically LA. C’est la vie!