We’re On the Road to Mammoth

25 Apr
Well, actually, we’re not. And sadly, I think we’ve probably already taken our last trip for the season. (It was a really good one though!)
 
Zach and I go to Mammoth several times a year. It’s about a 5 and 1/2 hour drive from L.A. If you’ve never driven there you probably have no idea what kinds of cool things you see on the drive up. You might even believe that you’re not in CA anymore.
 
Los Angeles county is BIIIIIIG. And once you get out of it, it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere with only a few small “Main Street” towns along the way.

It’s amazing to me that to get to one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the world you actually have to drive through a lot of desert. Once you get through the Antelope Valley, the first point of interest is Mojave and the “airplane graveyard.”  (This blog has a lot of really great images if you’re so inclined.)

About 30 miles up the road is Red Rock Canyon State Park. It’s beautiful and looks like Arizona to me. The rock formations make you feel like you’re on a different planet. I understand there are Indian petrogylphs in there. Unfortunately, Zach and I are always too excited to get to Mammoth so we’ve only seen the area from a moving car.

Beyond this, there’s a whole lot of nothing. Every once in a while, you pass by the carcasses of old abandoned buildings.

Rustic? I'll say!

90 miles from Red Rock Canyon is the first of the small High Sierra towns called Lone Pine, “the Gateway to Mt. Whitney.” It was founded in the mid 1800s. Interesting fact I just learned is that it’s very close to Manzanar. You know, the camp where thousands of Japanese Americans were deported during WWII.

 Next up is Independence. Who would have thought you would find an authentic French bistro in an old Western town out in the middle of nowhere?

Still Life Cafe

25 miles beyond Indepence is Big Pine.

And finally, the last stop along the road to Mammoth is Bishop. Once you hit Bishop, you are home free.

It’s bigger than the other towns and is actually kind of a fun spot. We sometimes stay here when we are too tired to drive the whole way or want to save a few bucks. There is a movie theatre, a few bars, and a tiny bowling alley. And it is surrounded by stunning snow-covered mountains.

Once you’re out of Bishop, you’ve got about 60 miles left until you’re in Mammoth, one of the most beautiful places on earth. I’ve been a million times and I still stand at the top of the mountain, awestruck at the landscape around me. It is truly breathtaking and it never gets old.

 
 

Celebrating one year of marriage at the top of the mountain.

And it’s always a great trip if you manage to spot Wooly tearing it up out on the slopes.

Well, that’s a wrap for this season. See you next December. Maybe. If there isn’t a wee little Pollard brewing . . .

One Year Ago Today

10 Apr

. . . Zach and I were married on the Santa Monica Pier. It was one of the most amazing days of my life.

It’s hard to put into words how we felt that weekend. I just remember feeling surrounded, almost overwhelmed, with warmth and love.

It was really overcast in the morning and I kept hoping the sun would come out at some point. It did.

There is an old Zoltar fortune telling machine (like in the movie Big) in front of the arcade. We put a dollar in on our way to the ceremony. Our fortune that day was so perfect. I’ve got it in a frame hanging on our wall now.

It said, “Yes, you’ve been up against it at times, and fate has been at the bottom of it all. Now you can look ahead to better times. You will dream about sun and that will be the beginning of a bright future . . . ”

Interesting sidenote: we almost changed our venue at the last minute to the Victorian on Main St. I’m so glad we didn’t. Looking at the photos I can’t imagine our wedding anywhere else.

Join me on a little trip down memory lane.

This might just be my favorite picture from the day. Look at those colors!

Right before the ceremony, Zach’s brother/Best Man brought us into the bar at Mariasol for a quick drink to calm the nerves. We met a random group of drunk people. This is Zach’s favorite shot.

This is my other favorite picture of the day. Surrounded by friends and family.

Zoom in on this panoramic shot of our reception at Mariasol, taken by Mick West.

To all our friends and family, thank you for sharing such a special occasion with us. You made us feel like rock stars that day.

Happy anniversary, Zach. This has been the best year of my life!

(Photos by Patrick Chai, Christiane Ingenthron, Brian Solis, Mick West, and Ben Stragnell.)

Has It Really Been a Year Already?!?

4 Apr

I can’t believe it but Zach and I are getting ready to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. This year has absolutely flown by. But that old cliché is true. “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  And this year has been an absolute blast.

To celebrate, Zach is taking me to Mammoth. I know. I know. We go there all the time. But this time, we’re staying at the Village. Which is one of the nicer, more romantic spots in town. (And there is snow in the forecast for Friday so hopefully it will look like this picture.)

Originally, I had our little red velvet wedding cake in the freezer which I had planned to save for our anniversary. But I really wanted to eat it while it was still semi-fresh so I convinced Zach to eat it on our 1 monthversary. I did save a couple of slices though so I’ll take them with us to Mammoth. (And if they taste like crap, we can always buy another pint of Ben & Jerry’s Red Velvet Cake ice cream . . .)

Since we won’t be in town for our actual anniversary, we got on our bikes on Sunday and rode down to visit our wedding spot – the Santa Monica Pier.

We got a new fortune from Zoltar.

Had our picture taken in the old taxi cab.

Stopped by Mariasol for a couple of drinks.

And paid a visit to the public observation deck, where we said our vows one year ago.

You may be wondering what I’m getting Zach for our anniversary. I told him about it yesterday since it won’t be ready for a while.

I am buying us a plaque with our names and wedding date which will eventually be installed on the wooden steps leading up to the observation deck.

I really like the idea of having our names permanently attached to this place that has become so important to us. Someone suggested we have our picture taken next to the plaque every year on our anniversary. I like that idea. Hopefully, we’ll collect at least 50 of those.

1980 – My parents belonged to the Playboy Club

22 Feb

My older brother and I had the privelege of being amongst the only 7 and 10 year olds whose parents actually took them to dinner there.

I remember they had a little arcade area with a Playboy pinball machine and some table arcade game. I don’t remember which one though. Maybe Pac-Man? My brother and I loved to sit there and play games after dinner while my parents listened to some horrible 80s lounge act.

The interesting part about that is that the walls of the game area were lined with framed Playboy centerfolds. That’s right. Fully nude chicks. No problem! My mom added pen bikinis to them in her photo album.

(Bear in mind the following pictures might be ever so slightly NSFW.)

Uh oh mom, I think you missed a few bikinis in this next one! (Don’t worry. I fixed them for you.) And check out my dad’s pimped out 3 piece pinstriped suit!:

My oldest and most loved-on stuffed animal is actually a Playboy Bunny mascot my parents bought for me in the gift shop.  I named him Nick, after the bartender who always put extra cherries in my Shirley Temples.  I still have him.  He has been everywhere with me.

His sweater (with a P for Playboy) shrank in the wash. His right ear has been sewn back on a few times. And his pants ripped right at the crotch. (Interesting placement.)  Also, he used to have a little Playboy flag/pennant sticking out of his hand, like this Playboy Bunny from the 1960s:  http://www.robertedwardauctions.com/auction/images_items/Item_3331_2.jpg

It might seem crazy that my parents would take us little kids along with them to the Playboy Club of all places but aside from the nudie pics on the walls it wasn’t that racy of a place. I remember it as more of a supper club.

My parents liked to party. They didn’t let the fact that they had kids stop them. I think that’s pretty awesome.

Let’s Talk About Fat, Properties of Fat . . .

9 Feb

This is a subject I think about a lot. If you’ve only known me for a few years you may or may not know that I spent most of my life as a chubby girl and dropped about 30 lbs back in 2004. For reasons I won’t go into here, I joined Weight Watchers and got pretty serious about working out.

I managed to successfully keep all of it off until shortly after getting engaged to and moving in with Zach. We were having such a good time cooking dinner together and indulging ourselves with wine pretty much every night of the week that I proceeded to gain back around 10 lbs. Which isn’t *too* bad but still.

When we finally set our wedding date, I joined WW again but this time I signed up for the online version. There was no way I was going to those meetings again.  I started back up in November 2009 (right before Thanksgiving!!) and lost those 10 lbs by February 2010 or so. Plenty of time for our April wedding.

A wedding is the ultimate motivation. I got into pretty awesome shape, if I do say so myself. (Side note: I used to hate my fat arms so much that I would never leave the house without a black cardigan. Even when it was 100 degrees out.)  I can look back on my wedding pictures and be proud of the fact that my arms looked awesome in my strapless dress on my wedding day. I did not need a black cardigan. (Even though I fully wore one later in the evening anyway. Some habits die hard.)

So here I am, almost a year (!) later and guess what? Those 10 lbs are back. I know “they” say the first year of marriage is the hardest. Not in this house! I would even say we’ve been on our honeymoon ever since, back to the old bad habit of not giving a damn and just doing, eating, and drinking whatever we want whenever we want.

Which is great. I’m really enjoying married life. But, dude! I gained back the 10 lbs that I *just* lost?!?! Again? That sucks so much! Why did I let it slip out of my hands again?

I guess 10 lbs is my threshold. I cannot let it go beyond that. Time to get serious again. Um, especially since we’re going to JAMAICA in May for a wedding!!

So anyway, I’m back on WW. Counting points. Trying to make better choices more often. (This recipe my mother-in-law sent me the other day is probably not a good idea, right? http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/bacon-cheeseburger-meatloaf-recipe/index.html)

Which reminds me . . . I think I need to go to facebook and untag a couple of pics somebody posted of me from back in college. Yikes.

Emergency Flip-flops

8 Feb

So this past weekend, while the East Coast was buried under snow and freezing its collective ass off, my husband and I were riding bikes around Venice beach. I wasn’t aware of how warm it actually was outside so I went out with a light sweater and uggs. By the time we got down to the boardwalk I was seriously regretting my choices.

Luckily, I had a tank top on under the sweater and there was a flip-flop store nearby. I put ’em on, rolled up my jeans, and sat down at On the Waterfront for a giant glass of heifeweizen (which by the way, Zach, is not pronounced “heffen-wisen.)

It really was a gorgeous day out and I felt lucky to live in Southern California. Zach eventually left me to go watch an NC State basketball game but I still had beer left so I stayed put. The people watching down there is just, well . . . I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. (I used my new Nikon Coolpix P7000 and piknik to apply the “lomo-ish” effect.)

At last. I can stop suffering and write that blog.

5 Feb

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for like forever.  And I’ve never done it because I could never think of a cohesive theme for it. Like, originally, I thought about writing a blog about nothing but cheeseburgers. But then I thought I might get very fat doing the research to come up with enough posts to make it interesting.

And then I thought about writing a fashion blog. But I’ve been very lazy about my clothing choices lately and we’re trying to save money towards a house purchase so shopping for new stuff is out.

While planning my wedding last year, I developed an unhealthy obsession with wedding blogs (which I still haven’t been able to shake) and briefly entertained the idea of doing something about real bridal fashion…something like a bridal Outfit of the Day thing. (I can hear you all right now. “IT’S OVER, THERESA.”)

I also thought I might write a blog about Santa Monica…cool things to do, restaurant reviews, etc. (Those things will probably make lots of appearences here though.)

The fact of the matter is, I’m just All Up In a bunch of different stuff so I think this blog is going to just be about all the random things I love to do while living in the greatest place on earth…Santa Monica.

Stay tuned…