I have officially been welcomed into the Monday Sucks Club, and I kind of want to cancel my membership. Not that work itself is bad, but I’m most certainly not used to five-day work weeks yet.
The weekend before I started work, Jonji and I traveled down to San Diego to watch our friend Ted compete at Regionals. We spent Saturday at the arena and then went to a lovely dinner that evening with Liz, Jeff, Sarah, Tom, Steph, and Kelsie. After a couple of drinks and a tasty meal, we meandered towards the cliffs to watch the sunset. After finding some steep stairs down to the shoreline, Jonji quickly stripped down to his boxers and jumped right into the foaming surf, much to everyone’s surprise. Before turning in for the night, Yelp directed us to a truly spectacular new ice cream place, called JoJo’s Creamery. Everyone was slightly shocked at how excited I was but, really, it is SO rare to find a place that makes delicious ice cream using great dairy products AND gives you a free chocolate chip cookie. Go there if you’re ever in Encinitas. Back at the hotel, Jonji, Jeff, and I hopped in the lukewarm hot tub for ten minutes, then got in bed to see Tom Felton on the TV talking about super fans, and then finally went to sleep.
We watched Ted finish 10th overall the next day (super impressive), then drove home to see our little fuzz balls. And speaking of fuzz balls, our cats are FINALLY breaking through their hatred of each other! They can now be in a room together and not immediately try to kill each other, which is a huge accomplishment. I can actually envision a future in which they can peacefully coexist. Once again, big things happening in this household.
On the Friday night after my first week of work, I went to meet the cousins for Kelly’s bachelorette weekend. I walked into the Malibu hotel where they were eating dinner, not sure how I would find them, and immediately saw four pairs of hands waving and pumping in my direction at the end of the hallway. They had graciously ordered a wonderful salmon dish for me, which I ate while we all caught up. The waiter gave me a warm blanket to combat the stiff ocean breeze, since the deck was suspended above the hissing waves on the beach below. After an excellent giant chocolate chip cookie, which we devoured in approximately one minute, we drove to our adorable Airbnb back house and played a personalized game of King’s Cup, AKA Kelly’s Cup (with only a glass of wine each, since we’re crazy like that).
The next day I surprised everyone (including myself) by putting a ton of effort into breakfast burritos, which we ate on the little patio out back with mugs of coffee. Afterwards we left to hike to the Hollywood sign—from the super steep side. I Mount-Doom-Frodo-ed my way up the incline, all of us sweating and panting. The climb even managed to shut us up for several minutes at a time, which is a huge feat for anything sentient or otherwise. We finally reached the top, where we admired the view and Bailey and I jealously watched a crow careen by, wishing we too could ride the wind down the hillside, and then began the hot, dusty descent back down the hillside. After giving Kelly tokens of our many good memories in the shade of a large tree, we went looking for cold drinks and snacks.
We enjoyed champagne back at the house before showering and getting into costume for our Harry Potter-themed wine tasting, which we’d all been looking forward to. Kelly got to take “classes” with Professor Trewlawney, Snape, Lockhart, and Dumbledore. Trewlawney read our “wine remnants,” I (as Snape) taught them how to make an Intoxication Concoction, and Dumbledore spilled his feelings about Grindlewald over a glittering pensieve. By the time we reached Lockhart, our accents were getting stranger and louder.
Photos: Kelly Esrey
We finally managed to get out of the house after all the HP-themed fun, ending up first at a too-ritzy rooftop bar and then a new restaurant where we were thoroughly impressed and intrigued by the phenomenal wait-staff. Full and tired, we made it back to the Airbnb and promptly fell asleep.
Photo: Kelly Esrey
The next morning we drank coffee around the table outside, reading from a goldmine of a journal that Bailey had found in her trunk from our middle school years. It’s crazy to think that I’ve lost so many memories throughout the years as time wears them out, but the ones I’ve made with those four women have never been forgotten; most likely because we act as a conjoined memory bank. When I was younger, days spent with “the cousins” were the absolute best. They were days filled with laughter, nerdy references, weird games, and genuine, undying friendship. The fact that we’re now older and days spent together are increasingly rare does nothing to diminish the pure joy I feel when we finally have a chance to spend time together. And it’s so exciting to get to support each other through school, jobs, and now marriages. We left the Airbnb sad to leave each other, but happy to have had an excuse to spend so much uninterrupted time together.
I suppose I haven’t written about my job at all, so here’s a brief overview: I am a junior designer at Leroy & Rose in Santa Monica, which means that I spend my days designing posters for TV shows and movies. They do a lot for HBO, Netflix, Warner Bros., and more, so I get to work on current and well-known campaigns, for the most part. It’s quite fun to come up with visual ways to represent a show or movie in a way that will excite the viewer. Plus, I have the chance to become a true Photoshop ninja.
Last weekend I finally got to see Kelsey, who I hadn’t had a chance to catch up with in a year. We walked from Venice to Santa Monica, talking about our families, engagements, work, and everything else we’d missed in those months gone by. As always, I remembered just how awesome she is, and made a mental note to see her more often. That Sunday was Jonji’s birthday, so I baked him his usual lemon-poppyseed cake with cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries. Todd, Jessica, Dan, and Tiff joined us on the lawn for snacks (including a whole cheese-garlic loaf), pop pop boats courtesy of Todd, and lots of sun.
This last weekend Naveen and PK came to visit. PK’s college roommate and friend, Chris, joined us Saturday for a day of indulgence. We ate brunch at Repuplique, a fancy restaurant that boasts a central area reminiscent of the Great Hall in Hogwarts. Chris got a truly excellent piece of chocolate cake, which he graciously shared, and we all ate a ridiculous amount of food overall. Next we traveled Downtown to look at a few shops Naveen was interested in, and all ended up with something (I got a cookbook, of course; it’s called Salad for President, and it’s more of an art book anyway). After a brief stop at home, we made it to The Tasting Kitchen for drinks. The awesome bartender (Grant, I think his name is?), made one of the best drinks I’ve ever had—tequila, passionfruit juice, orange, habanero syrup—and even gave us each a shot of sweet Amaro as an engagement gift. A little past tipsy, we swaggered down Abbot Kinney, debating where to eat.
Photo: PK Hattis
We ended the weekend by going to the ASSSCAT show at UCB which was, as always, hilarious. Definitely worth a late-ish Sunday night!
Photo: PK Hattis
Another week has flown by since I meant to post this, and in that time Emma and Danny visited for a night on their way home from San Diego. I got home from work right as they got to our place, and we spent a lovely evening making (and eating) tacos and chocolate chip cookies. The next morning they accompanied us to the 7am class, and then we had to part ways—me to work, Jonji to UCLA for research, and Emma and Danny to head home. Their brief visit made the week so much more exciting and enjoyable.
This recipe was given to me by Liz Burns, a coach at Depot and an overall wonderful human being. One day we were talking about cookies and chocolate, naturally, and she told me about her “super easy” cookies. They’re basically chocolate macaroons; naturally gluten-free, they’re also not very sweet (which I love) because there’s no added sugar, and, bonus, they’re super tasty. It’s a great treat to have during a long day. As I’ve had to be more organized with food now that I have a full-time job, these are going into my Sunday-prep category so that I can take them to work with me. Liz said that sometimes she makes the batter in the morning and chills them in the fridge all day so that she can come home and bake fresh cookies in the evening; a superb idea, on the whole.
Liz Burns’ Chocolate-Coconut Cookies
makes approximately 16 cookies
2 tbsp melted salted butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 pinch salt
1 pinch baking soda
Mix everything together with a wooden spoon and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes or up to two days.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Using a tablespoon or similarly-sized ice cream scoop, scoop the cookies onto a lined baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!