Posted in Good Things

Worth It

Last weekend the first Milk Bar in Los Angeles opened. But no matter how much I begged and pleaded, I couldn’t convince hubby to brave the traffic and participate in the opening day activities. If you are a fan of the Netflix series’ Chef’s Table, you know what Milk Bar is. Founding chef Christina Tosi has a bit of a sweet tooth and likes to go to the fair to test out desserts to get inspiration for new creations. She is famous for her “Crack-pie.” This led me to making a list of my favorite places to eat in Southern California for breakfast/lunch/dinner/dessert:

Breakfast

Sidecar Doughnuts in Costa Mesa: Their Butter and Salt yummy goodness took me back to the Arizona State fair where I tried the love of my life, deep fried butter. It was soft, warm, and the perfect blend of its two ingredients.

Remember when Oprah and Gayle went to the Texas State fair on their road trip?  That was the gateway to my love affair with fair food (and introduced me to the aforementioned deep fried butter)

Lunch

Fat Sal’s in Hollywood: This restaurant is famous for their gigantic sandwiches.  You can either be ambitious enough to eat it on your own or share it with someone you love. My favorite is the Fat Buffalo with chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, blue cheese, etc. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Dinner

Braise and Crumble: Hubby and I discovered this restaurant in Pasadena on a date night. Their Fried Chicken Po’Boy was delicious but the Gorgonzola potato salad is what we fought over and took home to let the kids try. If I could buy a gallon of it and figure out how to freeze it without it going bad, I would.

Dessert

Magnolia Bakery: It’s amazing the lengths I will go to try a dessert I see on Instagram. Such is the case with Magnolia Bakery’s banana pudding. I drove 12 miles of LA streets to try this pudding and it was worth every inch we moved in the Saturday traffic.

Burger Parlor: Burger Parlor is a burger and fries restaurant we love to go to in downtown Fullerton. Their burgers give Shake Shack a run for their money as far as my hubby is concerned while I love their turkey one. But their Cap’n Crunch milkshake is quite possibly the best shake I have ever had. You would think it might be too sweet but every time I have it I think:

Now if you don’t mind I am going to go eat my feelings after my workout as this week’s news has been hot garbage.

I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in The OC

Friday Favorite: Fullerton in Photos

There is something about living in a place where you feel content and at peace. That place for me is Fullerton. The diversity of people, architecture, and entertainment are all front and center in this small town in the OC. I am Dorothy and Fullerton is my Kansas (no ruby shoes required).

There are the amazing houses:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The Fox Theatre was built in 1925. One of my favorite memories with my husband is watching The Beatles’ A Hard Days Night in the parking lot of the Fox on a summer night. Restoration has been going on for years and I truly hope it gets finished so my kids may enjoy it.

Local businesses:

Angelo’s & Vinci’s Ristorante

Angelo and Vincis

McClain’s Coffeehouse

Coffee Shop

Carl’s Liquor (Don’t ever change Carl)

Carls

Mum’s the Word (love, love, love this name for a flower shop!)

Mums the Word

And my go to, the OG of fast food that has never let me down, and now I can walk to it…

Del Taco.jpg

I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in Calming the Voices, Word Therapy

Anxiety, Panic, and Pessimism: Take A Seat

Back at home.  A house, while smaller, has character and a tranquil backyard (my kids are so tired of hearing about the character of Fullerton houses but I am in serious architectural hog heaven).  There are so many places we want to visit in the OC that I have to keep reminding myself that those places aren’t going anywhere and neither are we.  And for the first time in I don’t know how long, I’m not stressed about bills.  That is when the voices start to close in and try to sabotage my brain.

I have had a good life.  I grew up in a nice home, have loving parents, and was never really told no.  In adulthood I met the love of my life and we have two great kids.  But I also grew up feeling less than, was bullied relentlessly, and never felt pretty.  My husband and I have survived hard times but they have left their mark.  They put me in the lowest place I have ever been.  Those times made me stronger, weaker, and made me appreciate what I have.  But it also introduced me to my greatest fear: a feeling I never want to revisit.

These days I am the manager of our household, making sure everybody is taken care of and is getting what they need from their life.  That ranges from making sure hubby is getting the time to study calculus after work, to the kids having an after school activity to work out their energy, to Oscar getting his daily walks to stretch his old legs.  I exercise, write, clean, and read.  I of course always want more time to write but how can I complain?  I know how lucky I am.

Then I start to hear, “This can’t last.  Happiness doesn’t stay.  The happier you get, the harder you will have to fall.  Before Prozac those thoughts would make me believe I was alone in this feeling.  I now know that isn’t true.  But Prozac hasn’t chased away the “happiness is fleeting” thoughts.

I’ve never considered trying to calm or manage those destructive thoughts before.  Being rational wasn’t an option and all I did was let the panic take over.  I know I can only control so much and the rest is life telling me who is in charge.  Deep breaths, being responsible, and continuing to work hard is my new way of combating the negativity.  And try not to be so hard on myself because I have recently learned a lesson: Being nice to myself is not only good for me, it is also good for the ones I love.  Such a hard lesson to learn and continue to believe.  I feel like I have to train my brain like writing it on a chalkboard over and over again.

Posted in California Livin', Hiking, Nature, Wellness

Friday Favorite: Fullerton Loop

Sunday is a day of rest.  Sunday is the last day of the weekend when you are supposed to dread going back to work because MONDAY.  Sunday is for reading the paper, drinking coffee, and watching football.  That’s not me.  Sunday to me is getting ready for the week.  Figuring out what I am going to wear, maybe write, and definitely exercise.  Running and yoga are usually the norm but I have been trying to get the whole family to be active on Sundays.  This past Sunday we checked out the Fullerton Loop, a hiking trail that you can also bike and run.  It was a beautiful day and even though we only managed to do 4 miles round trip, we got outside, the kids were loud and rowdy, and I had to pee the whole time (which is pretty much the story of my life).

While Dad figured out where we were going, the kids did an obligatory pose/dab:

Fullerton Loop Dabbing

We started off strong with Scarlet leading the way with her confident stride, not yet annoyed by her brother’s antics

Fullerton Loop Confident Stride

Then Wesley started running up and down the hills, trying to make this “boring” hiking trail (not every hike is Joshua Tree kid) fun

Fullerton Loop Wesley please dont run up the hill

Followed by me asking him to come down as my anxiety tried to take over, whispering he could get hurt or bit by a rodent or snake

Fullerton Loop Thank You Wesley

We stopped at a bench and it was very polite and cordial

Fullerton Loop Bridge Sign

About a quarter of the way in the kids were still smiling so I captured the moment under a bridge

Fullerton Loop Bridge

Wesley has his “I’m the King of the World” daily stance

Fullerton Loop Wesley King

One under a bridge, one on top of a bridge

Fullerton Loop Bridge Smiles

Wesley telling me to find him

Fullerton Loop Bridge find Wesley

Happy they found not a Christmas but a Stranger Things tree

Fullerton Loop Stranger Things

There was some complaining/whining/yelling about needing water and being tired but I know the kids will be up for another hike on one of these upcoming Sundays.  And I will be too.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend.  Thanks for reading!

Posted in Word Therapy

Coming Home

It has been two weeks since we have moved back to the OC and we have almost found our groove.  The kids are a little less mad at us today for taking them from their friends and school, hubby is tackling his new job, and I am starting to find bits and pieces of my sanity around the house.  My brain has been on overdrive since we exited Chapman Avenue off the 57 freeway.  When I first arrived here in August of ’93, I was a hopeful 18 year old who couldn’t wait to start her freshman year as a theater arts major at Cal State Fullerton.  Today I am a 42 year old mother of two who is trying to define herself as a writer.  Memories of the former keep playing bumper cars with my present and I am trying to process it.

At 7 am my Iphone alarm goes off so I can get up and feed my pups.  Their tiny nails echo down the hall as the three of us walk outside to get their breakfast.  Within a few minutes I wake up Oscar and Duke’s human sister and brother to get ready for school.  At 815 am the kids and I head out the door to drop them off at school.  Once I greet Scarlet’s teacher at drop off I leave their school and head home.  Several CSUF students line the streets as they head to class on their longboards, scooters, or on foot.  They listen to music with their earbuds and backpacks secured.  I think of the 7 am Political Science class in the Ruby Gerontology Center that I should have known better to sign up for and barely managed to pass.

Once I am home and running shoes are on, I head out for a jog around the city.  I pass more students as I near the school and envy them.  I still have nightmares about missing classes and showing up on the day of a test.  But damn if I don’t miss learning and interacting with other students.  I can’t learn enough these days, as if I am trying to make up for the time I wasted back then.

When I run errands around the city I pass the Bank of America where I used to deposit my $6/hour job checks from Express.  I pass where Off Campus Pub used to be and I would spend my Thursday nights drinking, dancing with my girlfriends, and judging the shoes of all the males (My rule: Don’t wear your nasty kicks or flip flops if you plan on asking a girl for her number).  The apartment complex where I lived in no less than 3 apartments has been repainted gaudy fall colors (mustard, olive green, etc.) and houses a lot more students.

The Brea mall hasn’t changed much except that my favorite French restaurant is gone (I miss you chicken and garlic sandwich with bruschetta!) and I can’t eat a sun dried tomato bagel with a large ice blended coffee for breakfast from the Nordstrom Espresso bar like I used to.  The pet store where I would peer in the window and gush over the puppies on my break will now only be able to sell puppies from rescues and Wesley and I gush over the animals together.  It’s more fun to clothes shop for the kids then it is for me and watching their eyes light up when I buy them nitro candy makes me smile.

Every week I write up the dinner menu for the following week so I can make my grocery list.  In my twenties eating at home was unheard of and rolled tacos with guacamole and shredded cheese with a diet coke (oh the irony) from Alberto’s on Placentia Avenue was what’s for dinner.  These days it’s chicken, rice, and vegetables (otherwise known as “Yuck” according to my kids).

Weekends are spent going to the movies and dinner, laundry, and recouping from the week.  The bars of Newport Beach aren’t missed and neither are the feelings of inadequacy as I looked around/danced in the late 90s.

Do I miss the freedom of my youth?  Who doesn’t?  I wished I had finished my college degree sooner.  But today I feel a wholeness that comes with having a family that I adore and love spending time with.  Gray keeps trying to stage a coup on my dyed hair, the crow’s feet and wrinkles are a part of the landscape of my face and I suspect the waddle is coming:

I will continue to struggle with growing older and hopefully find peace with it.  But instead of obsessing about it today I will show my kids why the OC feels like home.  And maybe give the kids a tour of the Fullerton Arboretum that I used to break into at night with my dorm roommates…