Back in the Saddle

Or: Yeaaaaah, Buddy: Kicking Off My Quarter Life Crisis

So, my dear non-existent readers, the prodigal writer returns. Back, and more full of mid-twenties angst, student loan debt, overpriced lattes, and red wine than ever.

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Let’s do this.

Times like this call for a quick life catch up, just so we all get the full effect of what we’re dealing with here, before I jump into a series of what’s likely to be poorly executed recipes, attempts at DIY, and botched travel blogs.

Since last we spoke in March 2015…

  • I took an amazing marketing job at a winery – never has there been a better fit
  • I moved home for a hot minute to save for grad school – suffice it to say, this was an excellent decision, yet not one I intend on repeating
  • I started grad school – more on this, probably one of the best choices I’ve ever made
  • I moved out of the house, and into an apartment with A and Gwen
  • I took a life changing week and a half long trip to Milan for exploring and international business workshops through my MBA program – see grad school notes
  • Que Quarter Life Crisis, introspection and a LOT of wondering what I want out of life (and how to get it, once I figure it out)
  • A & I decided to go our separate ways
  • I bought a lot of self help books and wine, started looking for a very patient therapist, and started my “before I’m 30” list

SO….there’s that.

The ins and outs of my breakup are between A & I, but I will say that he’s a wonderful human being in every way, and I think we both have a lot of room to grow and learn.

How do I even move forward with this? 

Basically, expect no schedule, posts of varying frequency and quality, and a complete hot mess.

But I’m back, you beautiful SOBs.

excited

Cheers,

GAW

 

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Pig Day at the Saturday Farmer’s Market

Or: This is what happens when G.A.W. gets a new toy and falls in love with her small town all over again

I GOT MYSELF A CANON REBEL T5 AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH AND THERE WILL BE SO MANY CAT PHOTOS IN YOUR FUTURE, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.

So there’s that.

As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, I recently rewarded myself for completely ignoring my blog by getting a new camera. So, naturally A & I took advantage of a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, checked out the Saturday Farmer’s Market in our little town, and brought my new toy along for some good old fashioned learning by doing. Little did we know, it was Pig Day at the Farmer’s Market!

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There were arts and crafts activities for kids and kids at heart, plus tons of pig, pork, and bacon related snacks, little stuffed pigs, and pig statues everywhere!

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We made a quick stop in the food vendor area for a chicken tikka garlic naanwich. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like — holy crap, so good. Chicken tikka, greens, yogurt and sweet tamarind sauce, all wrapped up in a warm delicious slab of naan. AMAZE.

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Of course, immediately after chowing down on our naanwiches, we realized that we sort of failed to fully participate in the whole “Pig Day” schtick, but choices were made…NO REGRETS.

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We took a stroll around some of the sweets vendors and saw these adorable “piggy pops” made of bread, with raisins for eyes. All of the littles running around (and myself) just had to have one. Spoiler alert, it was delicious.

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I love how all of the vendors really got into it with the Pig Day promo in little (or big) ways! Even the little band that plays on the park side of the market came out in prime swine condition! It was so fun to see everyone engaged with the market-goers and excited to be there.

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AND THERE WERE BABY PIGS, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. I WANT ONE.

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I”ll just leave this here — try to recover from the cute, I dare you.

It was a blast strolling around and enjoying the beautiful weather in our little town. I love getting fresh local fruits and veggies at our Farmer’s Market, and it was so fun getting some practice in by capturing some of the beautiful produce on camera!

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Our little town is the best, and days like today remind me how much I love living here. All of the little events have such a homespun feel to them, and when the weather is just right, and everyone comes out to join in the fun, it’s such a special feeling.

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What’s your favorite part about where you live? Let me know!

Until next time, my dears.

xoxo,

G.A.W.

How to Monterey!

OR: That one time A & I  went on an awesome vacation.

but first, a quick note

I know, I’ve neglected you – and I weep, I WEEP FOR THIS. In repentance, I will post at least a blog a day for the next week, full of delicious desserts, excellent entrees and even a quick fix when you find yourself in possession of 12 cans of Bud Lite Lime-A-Rita (spoiler alert, juice and a blender come in handy). Okay, so we’re good, right? Yes? Great.

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Now, back to your previously scheduled G.A.W…

friends

In April, A & I celebrated one year in mutual weirdness, which was pretty awesome. To celebrate, we drove down to Monterey/Carmel for the weekend and did all sorts of cool stuff. Here’s my take on all of the great places we visited!

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Jason Seagull…

Where We Stayed

Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa on Del Monte Golf Course 

  • We loved this hotel – it’s close enough to everything (Fisherman’s Wharf/Monterey Bay Aquarium & Cannery Row), but not so close as to be unduly overpriced or incredibly small/lacking in amenities. We got the standard room, and it was very clean and spacious. They have two great pools and hot tubs, an outdoor covered fire pit, a lawn games area, two restaurants and a lounge, plus the whole gorgeous golf course. I found out after we booked it that two sets of friends have stayed here and loved it as well, so…loved my many! BONUS: We got a great deal on Priceline.
  • We had drinks at the Fireplace Lounge in the lobby two nights that we were there. Both nights were pretty busy, but the drinks were delicious (we got mojitos and wine…not mixed) and we were happy to just sit and enjoy the fire and the jazz band.

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What we did

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
    • Obviously, I don’t need to sell you on this. It was amazing. We checked out the new Tentacles exhibit (Octopuses, Squid and Cuddlefishes galore!) which was crazy cool. Personally I’m all about penguins, so I am comfortable in admitting we spent an unhealthy amount of time staring at them. We also went to the Splash Zone (with the rest of the 8 year olds) and got to pet two starfishes and a sea cucumber with the cool kids. Plus jellies…jellies for days.

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  • Point Lobos State Reserve
    • I can’t handle how awesome this area was – seriously. We drove down to Carmel from our hotel in the morning to grab breakfast (AMAZING – review below). Point Lobos has a few great short hiking trails and is completely surrounded by amazing views – sea lions, cyprus trees, Monterey Bay — it’s amazing. PLUS: tide pools out off of the Sea Lion Cove trail. It was a great way to spend an early afternoon. There are even a bunch of gorgeous little beaches and places to stop on the way there from Carmel. Completely worth the extra drive.

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Sea lion mamas and their babies!

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Where we ate

  • Cindy’s Waterfront at Monterey Bay Aquarium
    • If you want to avoid screaming kids, tired parents and regular/greasy cafeteria food (and you don’t mind throwing down a little extra dough to do it) check out Cindy’s. It’s a little hidden spot with amazing views of the bay. The hostess stand is out front next to the entrance to the cafeteria. The menu is awesome – full of fancy seafood (as it should be) and also amazing twists on comfort favorites (TRY THE “ADULT GRILLED CHEESE”).
  • Knuckles
    • We ate at Knuckles, the on-site sports bar at the Hyatt, one night and the atmosphere was awesome. TONS of TV’s with A’s team and my team playing, plus a decent selection of drinks and typical sports bar-ish food (fries, sandwiches, burgers, salads, etc). PLUS: they have free fresh popped popcorn and salted baseball game style peanuts in these awesome barrels that you can bring back to your table. Kind of a cool kitschy way to tie in the sports viewing experience.
  • Carmel Belle
    • This place was arguably our best find of the whole trip (I say arguably, because we also had a ridiculous dinner at 1833 – review below). Carmel Belle is tucked away in a market place at Doud Craft Studios on San Carlos in Carmel that was just finishing up what looked like a gorgeous renovation when we were there. We had a polenta bowl with a poached egg each, orange juice and tea, and then shared a bowl of fruit. BEST BREAKFAST EVER. We ate just before we went hiking and it was perfect – not so full as to be drowning in food comas afterwards, but comfortably full! I would HIGHLY recommend this place for breakfast, and it looks like they’ll be serving early dinner starting this summer! Check ’em out!

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  • A.W. Shucks
    • Pun-filled name aside (what am I saying – that only makes this place better, if possible) this is one of my favorite places in the Carmel/Monterey area. On a previous trip, I had my first “legal” drink with my parents here and it was amazing (the “Best Bloody Mary” if you must know). A & I went back for oysters, crab cocktail and a couple of drinks. It was busy as usual – if they can’t fit you in, they’ll take down your name and cell number and call when they’re ready. This is perfect in Carmel, since there are so many great shops and little cafes/bars to walk around and look at while you wait.

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  • Restaurant 1833 
    • A and I had our celebratory anniversary meal here, and it was SO good. SO good, that I didn’t really take any pictures of it. But, 1833 is a gorgeous home-like restaurant, with a bar in the “living room” and various lounges and dining areas in library and sitting room type settings. We enjoyed great cocktails at the bar, until our reservation time came, when we were sat in the library area. Great entrees (honestly, at this point, I don’t remember what we ate, but I know it was amazing), great service and an awesome atmosphere. Bonus: they brought us our dessert with a “Happy Anniversary” message and it was on the house! Double Bonus: they brought the check in an old hard-bound book, in which previous guests had written little notes about why they were there and how they enjoyed their experiences. LOVED that little detail. Highly Recommend!

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We had such a blast on our little vacation! DEFINITELY check it out if you’re in the California area for an awesome fun filled weekend in a remarkably fun small beach town area.

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A & I

xoxo,

G.A.W.