Tuesday, July 31

brooklyn girl

Brooklyn Girl, a new neighborhood restaurant in Mission Hills, recently opened their doors and of course, I had to check it out. With an "old-time" spirit, quirky and random decor and pretty delicious comfort food, I was certain that I'd enjoy my meal here... and I was right! 

bread & butter... nope! they give you popcorn instead!

mamabear and i... not our best pic


butter lettuce, tomato and bacon salad

short rib gnocchi

freshly baked cornbread

side of corn

chocolate cake... everywhere... even my phone.

In other news, my roommate created an amazing cocktail this weekend, "Adult Chocolate Milk." Though I'm not usually into chocolatey booze, this drink was quite the treat.

PS: Women's gymnastics tonight? I could NOT be more excited!

Monday, July 30

foodie pen pals: july reveal!

So being the giant food geek that I am, I joined Lindsay's Foodie Pen Pals program! Here's how it works: Lindsay randomly pairs you with another foodie, blogger or reader, and a different blogger/reader is assigned to you. You're in charge of putting together a care package of sorts, under $15, of your favorite treats specific to your city. Since I live in San Diego, I gave my foodie pen pal some local salsa, corn tortillas and some coffee from my favorite local shop and Megan, my foodie pen pal went all out. She knew how important my time in India was so she incorporated some Indian goods as well as some local products from her hometown, Detroit and even some homemade jam. Nom! Needless to say, I'd say this Foodie Pen Pals program was quite the success.

love stories: lena & david

Meet Lena. If you haven't visited her blog, you really really should. The first thing I read on Lena's blog was her love story and after reading that, I was sold. Since then, Lena and I have realized our mutual love for India, a country we both spent a lot of time in, as well as photography, food [pesto] and travel [in fact, she's moving to Switzerland next month! I smell a Euro Trip...]. Lena was actually the first blogger I reached out to about this little series... and you'll understand why once you read more [seriously, Nicholas Sparks could write a book on her love story]. 

Our love story begins quite a few years ago, when jump rope and multiplication tables were my reality. Yes, a beautiful school day back in the fourth grade. On this particular day, there was talk of a new boy, David, at school. I walked into geography class, and there he was in all of his nine year old glory. And man, he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. As I walked to my desk, he looked up at me and that, my friends, is when I fell hopelessly in love. Through the years, I drew hearts around his name, daydreamed about our first date and imagined that (one day) he would love me back. And ten years later, he did.

This happened on their second date. Obviously, it was meant to be.
Just a few weeks before my sophomore year of college came to a close, David asked if I'd like to go on a date. Without hesitation, I agreed. On the first day of summer, he picked me up and we went rock climbing. We watched the sunset and he held my hand.. everything was just as I had always imagined. But a second date had to wait because I had committed my summer to sending high school students to summit mountains at a backcountry camp. This particular camp was nestled deep in British Columbia's wilderness, and what made it especially unique was that it excluded the comfort of modern technology (no phone, no internet, no flushing toilets.. crazy). So, he wrote me letters. Everyday. And I wrote him back. Everyday. And it was during that time that our love grew immensely.

lena and david // photo courtesy of ed hetherington
Upon my return, David took me on that second date which led to many more. After an afternoon filled with hiking and long conversation, when all was dark and quiet, he whispered I love you. I smiled and after a decade of waiting, turned to whisper the same thing back to him. In 2010, during a spring shower that brought about a breeze that smelled of honeysuckle and dreamy mist, we vowed for eternity in front of our family and closest friends.

photo courtesy of ed hetherington
Our marriage has seen an abundance of joyful times and trying times, all of which are deeply appreciated. You see, I've come to find that learning how to love someone well takes a lot of time and energy, but that is what makes this little thing called love so incredible. Knowing someone for exactly who they are, the good and the bad, and loving all of them is something that I can hardly begin to put into words. But one thing I know for sure.. it's more beautiful than I could have ever hoped for or imagined.

Sunday, July 29

insta weekend

my cousin, clare, came to visit me in san diego this weekend...

...we went to craft & commerce...

...i got an ipa cocktail...

...we went to pinkberry... totes the best hun cal fro yo...

...i giggled a lot.

we went to the bead store in la jolla... 
[finished product photos coming soon]

...and the bunny... well... wreaked havoc per usual.

Friday, July 27

friday's letters

Dear Squishy Pesto the Bunny, Your little cotton tail is soooo stinkin' cute. I'll never get over it.

Dear Awkward Solo Photo, I think I finally conquered you! [see right hand panel] Ha!

Dear Michelle, Thanks for your interest in Coachella, adventures, sushi, karaoke, Bon Iver, coffee and pretty much everything I like. You've also inspired me to make a list like this one!

Dear Cousin, I can't wait for you to grace me and San Diego with your presence. Prepare yourself for some serious feasting.

Cupid Shuffle, Thanks for entertaining me and the other drivers on the road during my commute home. I'm getting pretty good at executing the dance using only my shoulders.

Dear Madewell, You really need to tone down the cuteness of your clothes; they're really not helping my spending habits.

Dear Police
man (singular) Driving in the Carpool Lane, Practice what you preach; you were alone in that car!

BlogSpot LA, I am really really really really REALLY (x10000) hoping I can attend. Bri Emery, you're kinda my hero.

Dear Followers, I'm thinking about doing a fun giveaway once I reach the 200 mark. Y
ou guys seriously make my life.

Thursday, July 26

inspired by locals: jess from future: standard

I'm continually inspired by those who have been able to create their own business modeled around their passion. If that passion just happens to be working for a cause, my inspired state reaches a whole new level. Jessica Althoff, founder of Future: Standard, has completely blown me away with her heart and mind dedicated to helping the environment through her own online clothing store. Take a peek at what Jess had to say... I promise you won't regret it!

How did you come up with the Future: Standard concept? What was your inspiration? 
A few years ago, while still in grad school, I was at a Net Impact conference. The speaker said something like, "Don't settle. Find a way to combine your passions. If you are really into the rainforest and chocolate, find a chocolate making rainforest saving company. And if it doesn't exist, make it!" I was like, Oh my god! I never thought about that. I should combine clothes and the environment. In addition, I have always thought about where and how my things are made. I always knew a lot about fair trade and was really interested in it. I started to really learn a lot out about "ethical clothing" in 2009 when I had an internship with Pants to Poverty, an ethical underwear company based in London.
Have you ever visited any of the regions abroad that you source your products from?
I have. Unrelated to Future:Standard. I have. We have a few things made in China, India, Mexico, & Brazil. My travels are part of the reason that ethical clothing and an ethical lifestyle are important to me. Once you see the impact that an unethical item has on someone on the other side of the globe, you think a little differently about your personal choices. 

Why do you think purchasing ethical products is important?
There is no reason why things we eat, wear, and use in any way should harm anyone in the making. If I am causing harm, just to look good, then I need to find something else to wear.

How do you choose and find products to sell in your store?
I spent a lot of time doing research before I launched it. After that, I just started asking around. Unfortunately, there isn't that much out there, so everyone knows everyone else. I got a lot of suggestions from the designers. It seems to be growing and every time I go to market week there are a few new brands.

Why do you think living in San Diego is so special? What local businesses do you frequent? 
The beach! My friends and family are here. I go to the OB & Little Italy Farmer's Markets almost every week, and definitely have a few favorites there (Green Fix!), I live in Point Loma, so recently have been eating at Harbor Town a bit. I just discovered this food truck, Recess, that I love. I love Tender Greens in Point Loma.

What do you think is the hardest part starting your own business? Going from the idea phase to actually getting the courage to doing it. It is a risk, and there are times when it is really scary, but it is worth it. There are a lot of extreme highs and lows.

How has the public and your customers reacted to your business? So far so good. A lot of times, I need to explain what ethical clothing means to me. Which is good, because it gets people thinking about their clothes. If they are already thinking about ethical clothes, they get excited about it. And then they get an opportunity to see that just because something is ethical does not mean it is even a tiny bit less beautiful.

What projects are you currently working on?
We are hosting our first Shop Good event this weekend, and I would love for this to turn into something that we do regularly. I love the idea of giving other ethical brands (like 31 Bits and Sseko Designs, who will both be there on Sunday) more exposure. 

How do you intend to grow your business? What would be your ideal goal for Future: Standard?
I'd really like F:S to be more of a lifestyle shop than just women's clothing. I love shoes, so that might be the next step. Or menswear. 

If you could offer one piece of advice to someone hoping to start a sustainable or ethical organization, what would it be and why?
Just do it. There are always reasons not to. Always. But, you just have to, one day, say to yourself, ok, I am ready to start.

Wednesday, July 25

things i dig: lipstick

As a little girl, I begged my mom to let me wear lipstick [and heeled fancy shoes for that matter]. Once the privilege was granted to me, I was kinda bummed to find out that bright pink lipstick [and blush] was just not a cute look. [Anyone remember D.J. Tanner from Full House when she first started wearing makeup? That was me.]

I desperately wanted lip color to be cool, but it just wasn't. So I settled for cherry LipSmackers. Luckily, the trends have changed as they always do and lipstick is back "in."
 Needless to say, my preteen self is pretty stoked.

[all by mac; from left to right]

{My personal favorite's "Gotta Dash" by MAC. Are you diggin the lipstick trend?}

Tuesday, July 24

love stories: carey & taylor

The Motivation: As a hopeful romantic, I know my love story will unfold when the time is right and I'm excited for it and him to become a part of my life. But until then, I'll continue to live my life and spend a ridiculous amount of time "awww-ing" at other people's romances in order to instill hope in your hearts but also to keep the hope in mine. As part of my love stories series, you can look forward to some of my favorite bloggers' beautiful love stories, shared right here.

But today, I'm here to talk about 
Carey, one of my dearest college friends, who asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding just a few months ago. Besides being the rational mind for me when I can't seem to get it together, Carey's love story continues to inspire me and fill my heart with hope. As a fun twist, Carey's fiance, Taylor, is sharing his side of their love story today. His beautiful words are a testament to their pure and unfaltering love and it makes me so happy that I get to be a part of their special day in September. 

senior year of high school: taylor & carey [2006]

"I had been on a bus for over 24 hours when it pulled to a stop at Crooked Creek Camp. Everyone on board was rowdy with excitement because we finally reached the place we were told we would have the best week of our lives (money back guarantee). As I waited in line for 80 some odd campers to file off of the bus, I noticed a lot of the camp work crew waiting around the bus. When my turn finally came to step down, I look up to see a strawberry blonde with blue eyes smiling my... I mean... “our” way. I realized the work crew had gathered to help carry our bags to our rooms. So as not to lose my chance, I quickly grabbed my bag and headed back towards the blonde-haired and blue-eyed smiling face. I “strategically” dropped my bag in front of her and said hello.

My fascination with her Chicago accent had me sold! But guilt began to set in after I realized I shouldn’t have let her carry my huge bag, even though she refused any help and trooped on (as I thought to myself, my kind of girl). As she dropped my bag on the floor outside of my room and said goodbye and I made the decision this would not be the last time I would talk to “Chicago."  Low and behold, who was the waitress at the table next to ours at dinner? And of course I tried to get a glance her way anytime she passed by. Several guys at my table took notice and the comments started: “haha you don’t have a chance!” “yea, good luck buddy” and so on.

All the while, I thought, how am I going to talk to this girl? She’s out of my league. Well several dinners and “inconspicuous” glances later, I got my answer.

It was right after lunch, when we all had some free time. I figured we would head over to the main lodge and check out the pool room. On my way down the stairs, I saw her out of the corner of my eye talking to some co-workers. Here's my chance! Quickly, though, I realized, I’m going to make this pretty awkward if I don’t have something to talk about. Anxiety set in and I decided to continue heading downstairs. I made it halfway down when I did something abnormal: I decided I would make it up as I go.

I turned around, headed back up the stairs and in what seemed like a blink of an eye, I was standing in front of her with nothing to say, thinking, “way to go Taylor…” As the conversation with her friends/co-workers ended, she saw that I was standing there and I asked if she had a second to talk.

Carey (Blue Eyes): “Sure, What’s up?”

Taylor (Liar): “I’m interested in work crew next summer and wanted to get your opinion on it.”

Blue Eyes: “Yea! No problem!”

Liar: “Want to play a game of pool while we talk?” (I thought I was smooth with that one)

Forty-five minutes to an hour later I was sold. She’s amazing and I am the guy who came to a young life camp to lie so I could talk to her. Great. But that wasn’t going to stop me. As we said our good byes because her only break of the day was over, I asked, “Could I get your number? You know, in case I have any more questions about work crew.” (That’s twice I  lied at young life camp; I’m going to hell.) She smiled enthusiastically, as if to be excited for me to work there, and wrote down her number.

From that point on, I would get a smiling glance at dinner or a “how’s it going?!” as she rushed pass to serve her table. Needless to say, the guys at my table were shocked.

The last day was there before I knew it and she was standing in the circle drive, close to where I first saw her. We stood around for a few minutes making small talk until the buses showed up. I gave her a hug and said good bye to the girl I thought I would never see again.

1 week later...

I get a text message from Carey (Blue Eyes). We texted a couple of times but it was mostly about how excited she was for me to do work crew.  She obviously did not see through my lies.

About 6 months later...

I’m sitting in my freshman dorm room when I got a friend request on my new Facebook account (circa 2006). Carey Moeller from Hinsdale, Illinois. We started emailing a couple times a week. Then almost once a day.

After that, I was checking my email in between classes. I was set on dating a girl half a continent away. At about three in the morning on a Saturday night when I was texting her, I bought a plane ticket to go see her for the first time since camp.

People don’t have long distance relationships because they are easy. Carey’s time to go off to college came and we decided it wasn’t worth stressing each other out with the distance. Little did we realize neither one of us was really willing to let go that easily. We talked almost everyday. We talked because we missed hearing from each other if we didn’t. She was/is my best friend. We always told each other if it’s meant to be, it will be.

Well let me tell you, it feels like that phrase was meant for us." -Taylor Skains

my personal favorite

{Thank you Carey & Taylor for sharing your beautiful story; love you both!}

Friday, July 20

friday's letters

Dear TigerTiger, I'm so grateful you're only right around the corner. $8 steins before 6 p.m., amazing food [see donuts above] and a peachy keen crowd? Count me in.

Dear Favorite High Waisted Work Pants, I'm really sorry you're kind of tight these days. I appreciate the fact that you still somehow manage to look flattering and I promise, I'll try harder to eat more salads [just not this weekend].

Dear Bay Area, I'm excited to see you here in a few hours and thanks for hosting my weekend getaway.

Dear Ballast Point, I very much appreciate your Sculpin IPA. I'm always in the mood for it.

Dear Tammy, Thank you for being my blog mentor. You're just the bestest and I look up to you a lot!

Dear Butter London Nail Polish, I'm embarrassed that I spent $14 on a color I "couldn't live without," but you're pretty dang cute so I'll forgive myself just this once.

Dear Hair, I cannot believe how well you cooperated with me this week. See how great you look when we just get along? Let's try to do this more often.

Dear Nicole, THANK YOU for being a real person and writing this post. It made my week.

Wednesday, July 18

inspired by locals: jill from cultivating compassion

As you all know by now, this time last year, I spent some time in India. If you've been to India or written about India on your blog, most likely I've commented and emailed you with a million questions [if I haven't, please please please send me a link so I can read]. Lena can attest to that. For some reason, I feel immediately bonded to anyone who had even a remotely similar experience to me... traveling and/or volunteering in a crazy different country... and even more so if that country is India. Bloggers like Lena, KatelynLauren, Mae and Peter who have had experiences like this and Meagan who today, wrote about wanting to see the world, continue to remind me that this world is a big, beautiful and unique place. I believe that it's our job as educated Americans to get out there and not only see it but give back to the people who don't and may never have the same opportunities as us. 

So today, I want to introduce to you a truly inspirational woman and a dear friend of mine for this week's "Inspired by Locals." Though a bit younger than me, she has always been one of my biggest role models. Our friendship began in sorority-land but evolved into something much bigger and stronger when we realized our shared passion for getting out into the world to force and implement change where ever we can and travel travel TRAVEL.

Jill and I

Currently, Jill is in India and her story and journey has touched my heart in more ways than one. So without further adieu, here's Jill's story:

When Allie asked me if I would write a guest post for her blog, I felt honored and immediately said that I would. She asked me to write about why I think it’s important to serve others and work for a cause/go outside of your comfort zone. 

But before I get to that I think a little background on me is in order. My name is Jill and I have been a friend of Allie’s since her sophomore year and my freshmen year at the University of San Diego. I am finishing up a Masters in Peace Studies in which I specialize in Human Rights and Development. And as part of my Masters I am currently interning with a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) in Gujarat, India that works for the rights of those individuals who fall within the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, more commonly known as the untouchables.

Now having got the background details out of the way, I turn to the heart of the matter…why it is important to give back and get out. I myself am kind of an addict when it comes to traveling and working for a cause. Together these two things give my life purpose, make my heart sing and my soul dance.

And if there is any piece of advice I ever give people [to everyone actually] it is to TRAVEL! Travel far and wide, take in as much in as possible, because you will never know until you go just how magical the world is, and how wonderful people really can be.

We get so caught up in our daily routine, that we let the small stuff stress us out, like traffic. We cannot control the traffic but yet we still waste precious time and energy stressing about it, when instead we should be using that time to relax and listen to our favorite new song.

But when you get up and go you realize just what you are capable of and how much you have to be grateful for. This goes double for when you take the time to give your time to a cause or to serving others (especially abroad). I know everyone does not have the luxury of being able to volunteer abroad, but if you ever do I urge you to take it…more for yourself then for the good you will be able to do. Even if you cannot make it abroad volunteer at home, I promise you that you will not regret it. Once you have felt what it is like to truly make a difference in someone else life, then you will realize all else is trivial to this.

Directly working with a cause or a person has a way of stripping away all of the stereotypes, labels, standards, and expectations we feel pressure to live up to.  It shows us that life is all there really is and that everything else is just perspective… that we as a person matter… that we can make a difference just by giving our energy and light to something… just by caring.

all photos courtesy of cultivating compassion

At the end of the day we will not be remembered by how far we got in school, or what we accomplished at work, but by the love we gave to a few people in this world. So get up, go out, explore, and give of yourself…because in the end it will be the best gift you ever gave yourself. 

Tuesday, July 17

take me {there}: raymond vineyards

You know me. I'm a beer drinker snob, all the way, and wine is actually rarely something I'm interested in sipping on. However, there's something about meeting the faces behind the product, learning about the process and sampling the vintages directly from the source that piques my inner winos' interest.

If you've been to Napa, you know that it's pretty much the most adorable town ever... something out of a movie or a good book. It feels small but is home to some of the most incredible restaurants, stores and of course, vineyards, in the United States. I've been fortunate enough to spend a little bit of time there, however after stumbling upon Raymond Vineyards, I'm certain I'll need to return.

one // two // three // four // five

That fifth photo is of the blending room where you can create your own wines [do I smell a craft?] Clearly this caught my attention... I think I'd make a pretty great mad scientist. Plus, all of those fancy rooms are just too cool.

Has anyone been? Or maybe the more appropriate question is, does anyone want to go? 

Monday, July 16


Last night, my friend Megan and I checked out Gabardine in Point Loma. In typical Brian Malarkey-fashion, the details were incredible, the service was unbeatable and the food was pretty awesome, too. If the name sounds familiar it's because he was a Top Chef Miami finalist... pretty nifty, eh? Since then, Malarkey has opened a bevy of fantastic restaurants in San Diego; perhaps you read about Searsucker here

fishing rod light fixtures

synchronized swimmers

 cute interior

peter rabbit pimms cocktail... such a win

balsamic brussels sprouts

broccolini with cheese fondue

seared albacore

sea bass

All in all it was a memorable meal. The brussels sprouts and cocktail were my favorite and my only real complaint was that my sea bass was slightly overcooked... but the nuts, dried cherries and sauce definitely made up for it.

In other news, my weekend was pretty great. Amanda and I cleaned our apartment inside and out and I planted some new succulents. I also spent some quality time with my bed... why is sleeping so great?